Yesterday, Congressman Mike Michaud joined with a bipartisan group of his House colleagues to introduce the Forest Products Fairness Act. This legislation would allow American forestry products to be certified under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's BioPreferred Program, which encourages consumers and the federal government to purchase biobased products.
"The Forest Products Fairness Act will make a big difference for Maine's forest landowners, loggers, mills, and manufacturers," said Michaud, a co-chair of the Congressional Lumber Caucus. "Extending BioPreferred certification to Maine forest products will bring new attention and economic opportunities to the Maine forest industry."
The USDA BioPreferred Program was created as part of the 2002 farm bill. The program is intended to encourage the use of biobased products throughout the federal government, and to encourage consumers to purchase environmentally-friendly biobased products. Despite the eligibility of some imported lumber alternatives like Chinese bamboo, the BioPreferred program does not currently extend certification to most American-produced wood products. Currently, only twenty-one companies in Maine manufacture or distribute products that qualify for USDA BioPreferred certification.