Daines, Tester Introduce Timber Innovation Act

U.S. SENATE U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today introduced bipartisan legislation that would support Montana’s timber industry, create jobs, and help accelerate research and development of tall wood buildings in the United States.  

The Timber Innovation Act will focus on finding innovative ways to use wood in the construction of buildings above 85 feet in height or roughly seven or more stories.  

“In Montana, we have an abundance of trees, and through innovative technology we can create new uses and applications for Montana’s natural resources,” Daines stated. “By incentivizing the use of wood in building materials, we can create more good-paying jobs.” 

“Montana’s forests help drive our state’s economy,” said Tester. “This bipartisan legislation will make responsible investments in new technology, create good-paying jobs, and boost our wood products and construction industries.” 

The bill would also incentivize investment through the National Forest Products Lab and American colleges and universities to conduct research and development on new methods for the construction of wood buildings. Additionally, the Timber Innovation Act would support ongoing efforts at the United States Department of Agriculture to further supper the use of wood products as a building material for tall buildings.    

Julia Altemus, Executive Director of the Montana Wood Products Association: “We applaud Senator Daines and Senator Tester for introducing the Timber Innovation Act of 2017. There are many sound reasons why we support this bill. Supporting the expansion of Mass Timber in commercial buildings creates jobs, while growing a market for timber products. It provides an incentive for private forest owners to keep their timberlands in private ownership and for timber resource managers to sustainably manage their resources. Building 85 foot high commercial structures, with cross-laminated timber and associated products, sequesters more carbon for decades to come. Once enacted, this bill will pave the way for new performance-driven research and will likely be a real game changer for the timber industry.” 

American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski: “Mass timber buildings have existed for centuries, from Japanese wood pagodas built in the 7th century that still stand to the North American heavy timber structures that have stood for the last 100 years. The United States has an opportunity to bring new, sustainable mass timber technology to our construction industry, and the Timber Innovation Act directs technical assistance and research components already in place. Building construction using wood and mass timber products directly supports jobs in areas of rural America that have yet to recover from the recession and would lessen our dependence on fossil-fuel intensive alternatives, so having the federal government encourage further development of this emerging construction technology stands to benefit and enhance both infrastructure development and putting people to work. AWC thanks Senator Daines and Senator Tester for cosponsoring the Timber Innovation Act.” 

Kristen Sawin, Weyerhauser Vice President of Government Affairs, Environment and Safety:  “We applaud the introduction of the Timber Innovation Act. Mass timber is an innovative technology that can contribute to the sustained health and revitalization of rural communities that rely on the forest economy. Montana is home to many such communities and we are excited by the new opportunities that promoting tall wood buildings can provide.”