Johnson City, TN–The Appalachian Lumbermen’s Club (ALC) recently received reports on advocacy and promotion at its meeting here at the Carnegie Hotel.
Dana Cole, executive director of the Hardwood Federation (HF), gave the first presentation on the group’s advocacy work in Washington, DC. She said the Democrats control the White House and the Congress and drive the agenda but the margins are narrow.
There are divisions within both parties that are also slowing efforts to get legislation approved. The factions for Democrats and Republicans are challenging leadership on both sides with no majorities on anything.
Cole said that priorities for the HF this year are climate, business taxes, worker shortages and infrastructure. The Biden Administration has made climate a top issue in a lot of legislation and the HF is promoting that forestlands are the key to removing carbon from the atmosphere.
There is concern, however, that most proposed legislation and regulatory efforts stop at the edge of the forest and do not make the important connection between a healthy forest products industry, healthy and sustainable forests, and carbon storage counting methods.
The HF is actively communicating this oversight to Congress and the Administration in coordination with other wood products industry allies, Cole said.
“We are also working with our forestry and forest product industry allies on a consensus definition of biomass that will enable us to influence federal climate and energy policymaking so that the energy and residuals we use in our facilities will be recognized as renewable and carbon neutral,” she said.
The Federation is focused on the worker shortage crisis in the U.S. and opposes efforts to extend increased unemployment benefits at the federal level. HF will continue to support training and workforce development programs including those that impact loggers and truck drivers.
Cole encouraged attendees to visit with members of Congress while they are in home districts. It is the best way to educate legislators about Hardwood industry issues, she said.
Cole and Kris Long, of Atlanta Hardwood Corp., both members of the Real American Hardwood Coalition (RAHC) Board of Directors, told the group about significant progress in 2021. The RAHC began in 2019 to develop a promotion targeting consumers about the benefits of Hardwood materials in their homes.
Cole said RAHC has completed research with thousands of consumers, a marketing playbook, an industry website and recently contracted for a consumer website. The second website will connect with consumers when they are seeking information about furniture, cabinets, flooring and more for residential and commercial applications.
The ALC Board recognized the successful work and approved a $1,000 donation to RAHC. This enables ALC members to access and use the Real American Coalition materials including the logo, Instagram posts and other information.
The ALC Board also approved a $1,000 contribution to the Hardwood Federation to support advocacy work in Washington DC. More information is available at www.hardwoodfederation.com.
To learn more about ALC, visit www.lumberclub.org.