Forest Products Workers Visit Capitol Hill To Discuss Policies Jeopardizing Manufacturing Jobs, Environment
7 February 2020
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 80 American workers employed in the U.S. forest products industry descended on Washington, D.C., this week and made more than 530 visits with members of Congress. Their goal: to educate elected officials on the impacts of legislative and regulatory decisions on the environment, as well as the families and communities that depend on forest products manufacturing for their livelihood.
The group of workers from the Pulp & Paperworkers' Resource Council (PPRC), a grassroots organization of hourly employees in the forest products industry, are passionate about educating members of Congress and administrative officials at the EPA, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and other government agencies on the issues affecting American manufacturing jobs in their industry. They represented 55 mills across 22 states.
"Our annual 'fly-in' provides the PPRC with a wonderful opportunity to visit with Congressional and Administration leaders on environmental issues impacting our industry -- especially on topics like carbon neutrality of biomass, paper recycling and forest management," said PPRC Chairman David Wise. "The importance of clear, common-sense legislation and regulatory policy cannot be understated, as that foundation is vital to supporting continued growth of manufacturing jobs in rural and urban communities and ensuring a competitive playing field for the American forest products industry in the global market."
In addition to water and air permitting issues, regulatory reform and endangered species, the PPRC specifically discussed several issues with members of Congress, including:
- The Carbon Neutrality of Biomass – The forest products industry relies on trees to make our products and uses biomass residuals to power facilities and supply electricity to the grid. Although EPA has indicated that wood-derived by-products used to power forest products mills (such as spent pulping liquor, slash and wood waste) are carbon neutral, the PPRC calls on the EPA for greater regulatory certainty that they will exempt biogenic carbon dioxide from regulation. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and removes it from the atmosphere and releases oxygen in its place.
- Paper Recycling – Recovered fiber markets are complex, efficient and dynamic and are not served by regulations and prescriptive approaches to specify the use of recycled fibers or dictate what type of recovered fiber is used in products. The PPRC asks for support to improve the quality of recovered paper in the marketplace, including public-private partnerships and consumer education. We believe S. 2941, the RECYCLE Act, is a great step toward educating consumers on the right way to recycle.
- Forest Management – The PPRC supports measures to better manage our forests to increase resilience and growth in the wake of fires, hurricanes, disease, insects, and other natural disasters. We seek support legislation to help fund fire suppression, forest inventory, and sustainable forest management.
The PPRC members also thanked members of Congress who have joined the Paper and Packaging Caucus and those members who attended the Caucus Congressional Reception on February 5.
The U.S. forest products industry is vitally important to our nation's economy, employing about 900,000 people – many in small, rural communities. It ranks among the top 10 manufacturers in 45 states and represents four percent of U.S. manufacturing GDP. The PPRC is dedicated to conserving the environment while taking into account the economic stability of American manufacturing workers and their mills' surrounding communities.
PULP & PAPERWORKERS' RESOURCE COUNCIL
Representing members of: USW, AWPPW, IAM, IBEW, IBT, UBC, Firemen & Oilers and Forest Product Industry Workers. For more information, please visit www.thepprc.org.
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SOURCE The Pulp & Paperworkers' Resource Council