29 May 2002 Federal Government Raises Price of New Homes to Protect the Lumber Industry It Has Nearly Killed, by Tom Randall
BACKGROUND: The International Trade Commission has upheld a U.S. tariff of 27 percent on Canadian softwood lumber, the type used for the framing of homes. The action was taken because imports of Canadian lumber pose a “threat of injury” to the U.S. lumber industry. According to Congressman Gary Miller (R-CA), the tariff will raise the price of a new home by $1,000, denying home ownership to hundreds of thousands of low-income families.1
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The real threats to the American lumber industry are federal government and environmentalist policies that have shut down 70 to 85 percent of logging in this country.
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: Raising the price of homes for the poor (and thus, disproportionately, minorities) is not the way to protect American logging. We can protect the industry and lower the cost of homes by reopening our forests to sensible, environmentally-beneficial logging. The last time we harvested more timber in this country than we grew was in 1933. The 70 to 85 percent reduction in harvests, due to misguided environmentalism, actually harms more species than it protects and turns our forests into firetraps.
DISCUSSION: The federal government, goaded, sued, cajoled and harassed by environmentalists, has restricted logging on federal lands to the point where sound land management has largely disappeared in our nation’s forests.
Many of the logging restrictions were put in place allegedly to protect bird species that breed in mature forests. However, the Breeding Survey shows that while 24 percent of species that breed in mature forests are declining, 50 percent of species that require very young forests or brushland show significant long term population declines, according to Dan Dessecker, senior wildlife biologist of the Ruffed Grouse Society.
Also, Texas A&M University forestry professor Tom Bonnicksen, who has studied the history of North American forests from the last ice age to the present time, maintains that logging is an essential ingredient for maintaining forest health in today’s world.