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Against all odds, Donald Trump was elected as our new president.  Republicans also kept control of both houses of Congress.  Since November 8, many stories have been written about rural America’s influence on the election.  But what does it all really mean for the American Loggers Council, its members and professional timber harvesting?

There’s no doubt the new year will bring opportunities to reform federal forest management, restore the health of our federally-owned forests, and create more family-wage jobs where they’re desperately needed.  For ALC, there will be new opportunities to advance key priorities such as ensuring uniform truck weight limits and passing Youth in Careers in Logging legislation.  It will also be easier for ALC and its partners to stop anti-forestry measures before they can hurt the industry.

But make no mistake, getting things done in Washington DC won’t be easy.  Our work isn’t done. It’s only just beginning.

When it comes to federal land management, Trump now has the chance to appoint officials who can change the culture of federal agencies, emphasizing a shift back to multiple-use management of our lands and natural resources.  But the truth is the new Trump Administration will be saddled with the same counterproductive and complex web of federal laws, rules and regulations that have resulted in the neglect of our forests and the loss of thousands of jobs across the industry.  It’s already clear anti-forestry groups will double-down on lawsuits that bring projects to a halt and put forest health in the hands of judges instead of foresters.

Relieving our federal agencies of obstructive litigation, “analysis paralysis,” and chronic budget shortfalls requires congressional action.  Given the enormous power and influence anti-forestry groups continue to enjoy in Washington DC, it’s likely any real change will require bi-partisan support in the U.S. Senate, where Republicans lost seats.  Any legislative measure will likely require 60 votes in the Senate before President Trump is able to sign it into law.  Many policymakers, even those in the new administration, will need to be educated on responsible logging practices and the benefits loggers provide to the American public.

The new administration and Congress offer new opportunities, but many of the old challenges facing the industry will remain.  ALC members, led by Executive Vice President Danny Dructor, are working proactively with key leaders to hit the ground running.  But ALC still needs your help, even with a federal government that will be friendlier to timber harvesting.  Now more than ever, it’s important for all loggers to stay informed and stay engaged to make the most of the opportunities that American voters have given us.

Stay tuned to for updates in future issues in our newsletter.  And don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook!

Nick Smith is Communications Specialist for American Loggers Council and founder of Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for active forest management on federal forest lands.

The American Loggers Council is a 501 (c)(6) not for profit trade organization representing professional timber harvesters in 32 states across the United States.  If you would like to learn more about the ALC, please visit their web site at www.amloggers.com, or contact their office at 409-625-0206.