Guest joins No Timber From Tyrants Act

Published 7:00 pm Monday, April 11, 2022

U.S. Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS) recently joined House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR) as an original cosponsor of the No Timber From Tyrants Act.

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.

“States across America, including my home state of Mississippi, have huge amounts of timber ready to be harvested for wood products. By increasing domestic timber harvesting, we can create more jobs for hard-working Americans while divesting from tyrants who are determined to undermine global stability and democracy across the world. No one can fill U.S. demand for timber better than America and our allies, and I’m proud to join Ranking Member Bruce Westerman in support of this important legislation,” Guest said.

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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.