2018 Policy Priorities
Impact: The economic downturn and regulatory reforms of the financial industries have severely constricted small businesses’, and especially logging contractors’, access to credit.
Impact: The Fair Labor Standards Act’s prohibition on loggers employing their own children on family-run logging operations until the child reaches the age of 18 is discouraging the intergenerational transfer of logging businesses, since it prevents effective apprenticeships at a critical age. It is important to sustain existing businesses by facilitating the next generation’s entry into the profession as experienced operators and business managers. In addition, federal rules discourage employment of younger truck drivers, prohibiting drivers under 21 from driving trucks over state lines.
Impact: These provisions threaten to sideline good truck drivers and to make small carriers uncompetitive. To the extent that they reduce trucking capacity without significantly advancing safety, both CSA and HOS will impose large but unquantifiable new costs on the wood supply chain’s biggest cost component: transportation.
Impact: U.S. forest industry is compelled to spend more on per-unit raw material transport than its global competitors do. Enabling a log truck to increase its payload by one quarter could reduce total hauling costs by close to that amount and (conservatively) reduce net costs per delivered ton by 5%.
Impact: The U.S. wood supply chain relies on landowners, loggers and other wood suppliers, and wood consumers being able to enter into sales and service contracts within a reasonable framework. Obstructions to the right to contract freely which emerge in Congress and at the Administration’s initiative obstruct wood supply. If logging were done exclusively by company crews, a reasonable estimate would be a 15%-20% average increase in wood costs, exceeding $1 billion annually nationwide.
Impact:  Listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat for protection under the Endangered Species Act, and unnecessarily obstructing the forest management operations that have allowed it to thrive and expand its range, would severely damage commercial forest management and the wood supply chain without addressing the root causes of the threat to the species.
Impact:  Regulatory overreach makes reforestation on private and public lands unaffordable. Inflexibilities in wage determinations and program rules would conservatively increase annual treeplanting costs by over $260 million.
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