Kerry Bill Targets Illegal Logging in Developing Countries
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) announced today that he is co-sponsoring legislation intended to limit illegal, unsustainable logging in developing countries by banning imports of timber illegally harvested in places like Africa, Asia and Latin America. The legislation would give the government new authority to prevent that illegal timber from being imported, transported or sold in the U.S. Violators could face fines of up to $10,000 and would have to forfeit their timber. The legislation was written by Sen. Rob Wyden (D-Ore.)
"Illegal logging is a criminal activity that is damaging our environment, destroying communities and undermining efforts by developing countries to protect their natural resources," Kerry said. "We have responsibility to protect developing countries from exploitation of their natural resources by big corporations. I am proud to support this legislation and I intend to work hard to bring this measure to the floor for a vote."
"The effort that this unprecedented coalition of industry, labor and environmental groups invested in reaching this agreement illustrates the way that Washington should work every day," Wyden said.
Illegal timber operations overseas destroy millions of acres of pristine rainforest and timber lands each year. The situation is particularly dire in the following locations:
The Amazon - In Brazil, illegal logging, slash-and-burn agriculture and other human impacts are consuming the forest at the rate of over 9,000 square miles per year.
Borneo and Sumatra - Sumatra's forests have been very nearly wiped out, and what little remains is under severe pressure. Borneo's unique tropical forests could be destroyed by 2020.
Congo Basin - Over two thirds of the Congo Basin, the world's second-largest rain forest, is projected to be destroyed by 2040.
Among the organizations that are supporting the legislation:
American Forest and Paper Association
Center for International Environmental Law
Defenders of Wildlife
Environmental Investigation Agency.
Friends of the Earth
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
National Hardwood Lumber Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
Rainforest Action Network
Society of American Foresters
Sustainable Furniture Council
The Nature Conservancy
Tropical Forest Trust
Wildlife Conservation Society
World Wildlife Fund