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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    American Trees, American Jobs

    By Jake Davison, Section News
    Posted on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 10:57:49 AM EST
    Tags: jobs (all tags)

    Sometimes, our environmental policies end up creating unintended consequences that actually harm our environment - and also jobs and economic growth. This is the case with regulations surrounding forest certification.

    For many outside Michigan, our state forests are best known for our Christmas trees. But our timber industry is much more diverse, generating saw logs, pulpwood, veneer logs, poles, posts, fuel wood and many other wood products. Michigan as a whole has more than 20 million acres of forestland, making this one of the largest industries in the state.

    Certification enters the picture when many builders that use wood products want to know that they are supporting a sustainable industry rather than one that leaves land barren, scarred and poisoned. Over the years, various credible certification systems have emerged, each of which measures sustainability in slightly different ways. Many land managers seek certification to build their brand among businesses that sell and consumers that buy their products.

    Examples of groups that perform this function are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) certification programs. Together, these groups certify nearly one-third of Michigan's forestland. FSC and SFI, for example, recognize the Michigan State Forest. However, private landowners may only have invested in one system, as it can be costly and redundant to seek recognition from multiple programs.

    A sensible approach for policymakers entails accepting any of these credible certifications as sustainable, but unfortunately common-sense has not guided oversight of this market. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization, through its LEED system, only endorses FSC certification. Government agencies often require projects receiving public funding to follow the USGBC's guidelines.

    The government choosing one certification program over other credible options negatively affects the forestry industry, jobs and the economy.

    Government agencies and elected officials should want to promote both sustainability and growth. Unfortunately, they don't always think beyond the initial stage of a policy's impact. The USGBC's LEED system is aligned with FSC, a timber association based in Germany. Not only do forests recognized by FSC represent less than a third of the certified land in this country, but FSC's certification standards are much lower for countries such as Russia and Brazil.

    The result of this bias is that many American projects will end up using foreign wood products that fail to meet the standards of timber harvested in the U.S., and do nothing to support domestic workers and families. This negatively impacts countless local communities in Michigan and throughout the U.S. that rely on forestry a source of well-paying employment and revenues for town, city and county operations.

    We need to support an open certification market by insisting that public funds not be limited to narrow choices. A good first step is to insist that all credible forest certifications gain recognition by the USGBC.  By endorsing an open system we can contribute to and incentivize conservation, protect jobs and promote economic growth.

    < Humpday Divertere - Spiking The Football | Estimated 4K Non-Citizens On Michigan Voter Registry >

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    More on this issue... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jake Davison on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 04:25:40 PM EST
    October 1, 2012
    The True Costs of Green Labeling
    By Stephen Pociask

    The familiar saying "you get what you pay for" applies in many circumstances. Under certain conditions, however, this statement can be very misleading. For example, when customers pay a higher price for wood and paper products with "green" labels, they may not actually be getting something that is better for the environment. A combination of misguided policies and organized pressure from environmental activists to elevate one forest certification program over all others is creating confusion in the marketplace. As a result, consumers are paying more for wood and paper products that may fall short of their "green" expectations...
    (read more here: http://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/01/the_true_costs_of_green_labeling.html)

    • no surprise by JGillman, 10/05/2012 07:16:13 AM EST (none / 0)
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