WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) have introduced H.R. 5873 – the Forest Products Fairness Act of 2012 – to modify the definition of "biobased" materials to specifically include wood products in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biobased Markets Program initiatives.
"I applaud Reps. Thompson and Schrader for recognizing an obvious deficiency with the USDA's Biobased Markets Program and taking action to address the issue by introducing legislation to identify wood products as biobased," said American Wood Council President Robert Glowinski. "This bill has broad, bipartisan support, because our legislators understand that wood is among the most 'biobased' products out there. We urge others to give their support to H.R. 5873 to help protect our industry and the tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs it provides."
The Biobased Markets Program (also known as the BioPreferred® program) was originally enacted as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to increase the identification and use of biobased products. The program is comprised of two separate initiatives: Product Labeling, which allows companies to affix certification labels to products the agency identifies as biobased, and a Federal Procurement Preference, which gives preference to pre-selected biobased products for purchase by the federal government.
Under the current implementation guidelines, many traditional wood products that have up to 100 percent biobased content are not considered biobased, while products with as little as 25 percent biobased content are recognized.
H.R. 5873 clarifies that USDA should recognize wood products as biobased and will ensure a competitive marketplace for all products with biobased content.
"We believe excluding traditional wood products from a program touting the benefits of biobased products is misleading to the public, and we ask that wood be recognized for its inherently renewable properties," said Glowinski.