Congress introduces bill to promote CLT across the country

2017-03-16 Ashley Bach

Great news to see a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers reintroduce legislation to increase the use of innovative wood products, particularly cross-laminated timber, in construction projects.

According to the Aberdeen Daily World, the Timber Innovation Act will "accelerate the research and development of wood for use in construction projects, such as cross-laminated timber, focusing on the construction of buildings more than 85 feet in height — like the 12-story cross-laminated timber building currently in development in the Pearl District of Portland, Ore."

“Devastating fires across the Washington state have cost billions to fight. Innovative timber products and long term timber contracts could help us achieve better forest health while bolstering local economies,” said (Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.). “This is something the forest products industry has shown us time and again: new innovations and technologies can create new markets for wood and assist us in maintaining healthy working forests.”

The legislation has broad support, including from lawmakers in the House, and timber and environmental groups.

U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene from Washington’s 1st Congressional District and Glenn Thompson introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. District 6 Representative Derek Kilmer and District 5’s Kathy McMorris-Rodgers are cosponsors of the House bill.

“Advancing tall wood building construction through the Timber Innovation Act is a win for working families and our environment,” DelBene said. “Technological advancements in cross-laminated timber have made it easier for us to support healthy forests, wildlife habitats and rural economies dependent on forest products. Encouraging the use of green building materials instead of building materials dependent on fossil fuels reduces greenhouse gases creating a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations.”

The bipartisan bill is supported by Weyerhaeuser, the National Wildlife Federation, and the American Wood Council, in addition to more than 100 other stakeholders, according to Cantwell’s office.

Adrian Blocker, Weyerhaeuser senior vice president of wood products, said, “There is enormous potential for mass timber and the Timber Innovation Act takes an important step forward to advance this new technology. While wood is one of the oldest building materials around, new technology utilizing engineered mass timber panels and wood-based building systems creates new possibilities for wood construction.”