Politics

Westerman Leads Legislation Banning Timber Imports From Russia

WASHINGTON – House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-04) introduced the No Timber From Tyrants Act with the support of more than 80 members and 35 industry groups. This legislation would prohibit imports of forest products from Russia and Belarus while ramping up responsible harvesting of American timber to create new jobs, produce more sustainable wood products and make U.S. federal lands more resilient to catastrophic wildfires.

“America should be pushing back on Putin’s war of aggression from every possible angle, and there’s no better way to do that than by cutting Russia’s economy off at the knees. We imported hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of wood products from Russia last year alone, giving Russia the power to channel those funds directly into Putin’s war. No more. By immediately banning the import of all Russian timber, we can not only deal a harsh blow to tyranny, but we can also simultaneously boost American industries. Enough rhetoric – it’s time to show Putin we mean business and stop economically propping up his senseless violence. I’m proud to see so many of my colleagues joining me in this effort, and hope to see this bill passed quickly.” – House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

“As long as Putin’s unhinged, evil genocide in Ukraine continues, we’ll use every tool at our disposal to isolate and weaken his regime and its financing. The No Timber From Tyrants Act is a just response to this dictatorial aggression and will simultaneously stimulate the American forestry industry and promote forest health.” – House Committee on Agriculture Ranking Member GT Thompson (R-Pa.)

“The timber industry helped build the Pacific Northwest, and with more than 6.5 million acres of forestland, Eastern Washington is in a position to lead and deliver results. By proactively managing these forests and responsibly harvesting more timber, we can increase exports to support our allies, decrease the world’s dangerous dependence on Russia, and make our lands more resilient to catastrophic wildfires. The No Timber From Tyrants Act is a win-win for Eastern Washington and the United States. Just like the American Energy Independence from Russia Act, this legislation will help us expand our energy dominance on the world stage and fight back against Putin, and I’m proud to help introduce it today.” – House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)


Background


In 2021, the U.S. imported more than half-a-billion dollars’ worth of wood products from Russia ($459 million) and Belarus ($52 million). Russia is the world’s fourth largest exporter of wood, and wood exports are a $12 billion industry for President Vladimir Putin. Since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, global forest certification systems have begun classifying wood products from Russia and Belarus as “conflict lumber.” As U.S. leadership looks for ways to cut off resources funding Putin’s war, wood products are an obvious way to further economically isolate Russia while simultaneously supporting American businesses.


To replace this conflict timber, the No Timber From Tyrants Act will increase responsible harvesting on federal lands in the amount necessary to make up for lost imports. Securing American independence from wood supplied from Russia and Belarus will greatly enhance American forest management and create vitally important economic opportunities for rural communities to produce more American wood products. Harvesting more wood products in the U.S. under rigorous environmental standards will also help address our nation’s current wildfire crisis by supporting more active management to improve forest health and reduce the risk and severity of catastrophic wildfires.

Read the full bill here.

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