S. 432. A bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct and support research into alternative treatments for timber produced from public lands and lands withdrawn from the public domain for the National Forest System, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, today I am introducing the Wood Preservation Safety Act of 2003 with my Idaho colleague Senator Crapo and our friend from Nevada, Mr. Ensign. If enacted, this legislation would authorize the Forest Products Laboratory of the US Forest Service to study the effectiveness of silver-based biocides as a wood preservative treatment. This legislation was also introduced in the 107th Congress.
According to silver experts and academics, silver biocides could serve as a viable, safe and cost effective alternative wood preservative. Given silver's long-standing role as an effective biocide, testing should be undertaken to determine silver's suitability as a wood preservative. Thus, I feel it is important to study and fully explore the potential of silver as a wood preservative.
Mining has been an important part of Idaho's history since the late 1800s. It became Idaho's first industry and remains a critical part of Idaho and the nation's economy. Mining in Idaho has supplied the nation with minerals necessary for today's modern lifestyle which many of us take for granted. In 1985, the mines of Idaho's Coeur d'Alene mining district produced their one billionth ounce of silver. The Sunshine Mine was America's richest silver mine, producing over 300 million ounces of silver, more than the entire output of Nevada's famous Comstock Lode. Silver contributes to our quality of life in many ways, and its use as a biocide in wood products is an important application that must be explored.
I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass legislation that would create a comprehensive research program to test the viability of silver-based biocides for the treatment of wood products.