Stephen DeMaura

In fact, in May 2012, researchers discovered that the FSC had certified a supplier that was cutting into Russia’s precious old-growth forest and logging trees that were 200 to 600 years old. As reported by the Inter Press Service, “On paper FSC has strict rules for certification that ensure protection of ancient forests. But in reality there are some gaps in regulation, according to Andrei Ptichnikov, general manager of FSC in Russia.”

Nonetheless, the federal government has cherry-picked the FSC to be the “gold standard” for forest certification.

What’s more, FSC excludes the vast majority of wood from American forests. Simply put, this is a job killer that jeopardizes many of America’s 2.9 million jobs that are supported by forests. Consider the following facts: FSC certifies 90 percent of its forestland outside of the United States and nearly 75 percent of certified forests in the U.S. use a system other than FSC. Members of Congress, governors, unions, small businesses, foresters and conservationists have urged the USGBC to broaden its criteria for what counts as sustainable wood, as a way of achieving sustainability goals while also protecting American jobs.

With many private sector industries on life support, we can’t afford to block certified American wood from emerging domestic markets. If this administration is looking to buttress both the economy and environment, we need to stop allowing USGBC’s LEED ratings and the federal government to pick winners and losers, because their choice puts America’s tree farmers out of work.

Stephen DeMaura

Stephen DeMaura is president of Americans for Job Security.