Many years ago, I remember a trip I made with my family to an amusement park where we enjoyed spending the day seeing the sights and riding the rides. One of the biggest excitements came when I found out that I was tall enough to ride the rollercoaster, but what I did not realize then was that the rollercoaster “effect” would follow me throughout my adult life.
We have all experienced the rollercoaster effect; the ups and downs of the economy, the highs and lows of growing older, and the good times and bad times of the timber harvesting industry…sometimes up, sometimes down.
We are still on that rollercoaster. While markets have shown some improvement over the past few months for the products and services that we provide, there is still the potential threat of more regulation that could stymie our growth.
For the past 18 months, the American Loggers Council has worked with other associations in an attempt to secure legislation that would permanently exempt using forest roads from the NPDES permitting system. Many of our sponsors have jumped into the fray with us, including Caterpillar Forest Products and John Deere. We have been in the trenches in Washington, DC, working together to try and put a common sense bill into place that would remove one more “worry” from our still recovering industry.
On June 18th, we got an unexpected surprise. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives decided to attach the Silviculture Regulatory Exemption Act as an amendment to the House Version of the Farm Bill. Immediately, a call to action was sent out requesting that everyone call their representatives and ask that they support the amendment in the Farm Bill. Because of the great work put in by all, the amendment passed on the floor of the House on a voice vote on June 19th, with no one debating in opposition of the amendment.
But then came June 20th, when members of the House voted on final passage of the Farm Bill. The Bill went down in smoke by a vote of 194 for and 234 against.
Unfortunately, larger considerations of the Farm Bill such as the Food Stamp (SNAP) program carried a lot more weight than our forest roads amendment, but the fact remains that the vast majority of the members of the House voted favorably on the language that was included in the amendment, understanding that the language in the amendment made sense.
Once again we have experienced the rollercoaster effect that comes with life, and once again, we find ourselves at the bottom of the hill slowing climbing our way back up. I’m not so certain that the idea of riding roller coasters anymore is appealing, but you can rest assured that the American Loggers Council will do its part in securing legislation that is favorable towards the timber harvesting industry, even if the ride is not always as smooth as we would like.
The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c)(6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.