Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Oreg.) today applauded the settlement between the Department of Justice and Gibson Guitar Corp., who today entered an agreement resolving a criminal investigation into allegations that the company violated the Lacey Act by illegally purchasing and importing ebony wood from Madagascar and rosewood and ebony from India. The Lacey Act has been the primary tool in the effort to combat wildlife crime for a century. In 2008, amendments to the act prohibited the import of illegally-logged wood, helping to protect the U.S. forest product industry which was losing jobs and a billion dollars a year to illegal logging outfits overseas.
"Gibson's admission of wrongdoing is a win for the Lacey Act, a win for US jobs and a win for consumers who can be assured that illegally trafficked "blood wood' won't be used to make their guitars," said Rep. Markey, Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee. "Gibson, the Tea Party and House Republicans attempted to gut the Lacey Act by changing the law in Congress before the case against the guitar maker was resolved. I commend the hard and deliberate work of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department to bring this case to a close.
"I thank the U.S. hardwood and paper industries, who stood up for keeping jobs in America, rather than allowing cheap, illegal wood products from other countries to flood the market. I would also like to praise Sting, Dave Matthews Band, and Guster, along with the multitude of musicians and other individuals who stood up for the Lacey Act and who pledged to use legal, sustainable musical instruments. Let's keep the good tunes on good wood coming," said Rep. Markey.
"This is another example of the Lacey Act working to protect valuable natural resources and positively reforming the global market for timber products," said Rep. Blumenauer. "Not only has Gibson agreed to pay a penalty and forfeit its ill-gotten wood from Madagascar, but this case sends a message to other companies who think they can ignore the laws: The Lacey Act is on the job. The Lacey Act has been, and will continue to be, an effective tool in the fight to protect U.S. jobs and the environment."
The Lacey Act was the focus of a Natural Resources Committee hearing on May 8, 2012. The pledge to protect the Lacey Act has now been signed by musicians and individuals as evidence of support for the law. The pledge against supporting blood instruments now includes:
Dave Matthews Band, Bonnie Raitt, David Crosby, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, Maroon 5, Jack Antonoff, F.U.N., Jason Mraz, Bob Weir, Barenaked Ladies, Brad Corrigan (Dispatch), Pat Simmons (Doobie Brothers), Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel), The Cab, Of a Revolution (O.A.R), Ryan Dobrowski and Israel Nebeker (Blind Pilot), Brett Dennen, Guster, Razia Said, Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones), Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Bryan Adams, Lana Del Ray, Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran), Lily Allen, My Morning Jacket, Jools Holland, Debbie Harry, Richard Bona