Forest Recovery Act: Support
This bill modifies the tax deduction for casualty losses to establish special rules for losses of uncut timber.
In the case of the loss of uncut timber from fire, storm, other casualty, or theft, the basis used for determining the amount of the deduction may not be less than the excess of (1) the fair market value of the uncut timber determined immediately before the loss was sustained, over (2) the salvage value of the timber.
The rule applies only if (1) the timber was held for the purpose of being cut and sold, and (2) the uncut timber subject to the loss is reforested within five years of the loss.
The bill also exempts casualty losses from uncut timber from the rule restricting the deduction for personal casualty losses to losses attributable to a federally declared disaster.
Practical Immigration Policies: Support
The H-2B program, managed by the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor, was created to provide access to nonimmigrant temporary workers for seasonal and peak load needs when no American worker can be found for available positions. The current program is capped at 66,000 visas annually (approximately .04% of the American workforce). Despite this small number, these immigrant workers are critical to many seasonal businesses, including forest management work such as tree planting.
The H-2B visa cap is too low to meet the workforce needs of the sectors that rely on these workers. In addition, Department of Labor regulations associated with employment of these workers has become too complex and costly. Legislation is needed to re-orient the programs to meet the employment needs of seasonal businesses.
Congress must provide permanent and meaningful H-2B cap relief in the FY 2020 appropriations legislation.
The Paperwork Reduction for Farmers and H-2A Modernization Act (S. 1887) would allow forestry, as well as other businesses in the capped H-2B program, to apply for visas in the uncapped H-2A program as an option. Anyone that would like to remain under the H-2B program may do so. Additionally, the bill simplifies and expedites the application process for returning workers, develops an online application process, and requires the government to promptly provide a reason for a denial or delay to the employer.
Resilient Federal Forests Act: Support
The “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019,” introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), is a bipartisan solution to address the growing economic and environmental threats of catastrophic wild fire. The legislation pairs a responsible budget with targeted forest management reforms to dramatically improve the health and resiliency of our nation’s forests and rangelands. The bill provides federal land management agencies immediate tools to increase the pace, scale and cost ef ciency of forest management projects without sacrificing environmental protections.
Truck Weights: Increase
Our nation’s federal vehicle weight limit is outdated and out of touch with today’s engineering advancements and consumer needs. The 80,000-pound arbitrary truck weight restriction on Federal Interstate Highways has introduced unnecessary costs and inefficiencies to raw material suppliers and finished product shippers that depend on our roadways every day. In many states, the allowable weight limit for state roads is higher than the limit imposed on federal highways. This anomaly has created a number of unreasonable outcomes, including forcing loggers to travel longer distances on state roads and through small towns instead of safer, more direct routes on the federal interstate. In the forest products sector, moving harvested trees from forest to facility may comprise 30% of a product’s delivered cost, despite the fact that the entire forest product supply chain has worked tirelessly to wring every cent out of the system through innovation and technology.
The Association supports legislation to allow trucks operating at the maximum allowable state road truck weight limit to travel at that weight on that state’s portion of the federal interstate highway system.
Safe Routes Act of 2019: Support
All fifty states currently have higher legal gross vehicle weights (GVW) than the U.S. Interstate Highway System. As a results, log trucks frequently travel on non-interstate rural roads, which allows them to make fewer trips. While that is the better choice economically and environmentally, multiple studies have indicated that interstate travel can be the safer choice. (See 2018 Virginia Tech study and 2018 University of Georgia study.)
The Safe Routes Act would allow trucks transporting logs, pulpwood, chips or biomass to travel up to 150 air miles on the Federal Interstate Highway System at the legal state Gross Vehicle Weight.