Daines, Zinke Work to Protect Montana Sawmills

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines and Representative Ryan Zinke today worked to provide much needed certainty for Montana sawmills, which are facing the expiration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) on October 12, 2015.

In a letter to US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Daines and Zinke highlighted the economic benefits that sawmills provide Montana and called on Tidwell to provide mills with needed relief and flexibility as they face concerns surrounding the impact of foreign demand and exchange rates on the timber industry. 

“We are writing to request that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) provide appropriate relief and flexibility for lumber mills impacted by the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA),” Daines and Zinke wrote. The uncertainty surrounding the SLA and the current economic conditions facing the U.S. timber industry warrant USFS action to grant additional flexibility regarding timber production on federal lands, at least until the SLA is renegotiated. Providing such flexibility in the implementation of USFS contracts is vital to the strength and sustainability of Montana’s forest products workforce.” 

The SLA expires on October 12, 2015 with a one-year moratorium on complaints or lawsuits until October 2016.

Daines’ and Zinke’s letter to Chief Tidwell is available here.