Washington Legislature recognizing working forests’ role in curbing climate change


The 2020 Washington State Legislature began this week and the issue of climate change will be on the minds of lawmakers throughout the 60-day session. To that end, several legislators in the House and Senate are recognizing that the state’s forest products sector has a part to play in the effort to address climate change.

Washington forests and wood products sequester 35% of our state’s carbon emissions and working forests play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gases. In fact, sustainably managed forests provide a renewable timber supply for wood-based goods that retain the stored carbon throughout the life of the wood product, making working forests and the sustainable forestry industry one of the most cost-effective and natural ways to maximize carbon sequestration.

That is why Washington state lawmakers are considering legislation that underscores the environmental value-added of sustainably managed forests with SB 6355 in the Senate and companion bill HB 2528 in the House of Representatives, also referred to as the Forest Sector Carbon bills. Both bills provide guidelines on how natural and working lands can be used to support the state’s climate response strategy and specifically focuses on the vital role that the forestry and wood products industries provide.

The Forest Sector Carbon bills encourage investment in sustainable forestry and wood production by encouraging landowners to grow more trees that promote air quality and sustain a robust forestry industry. SB 6355 and HB 2528 also would establish a policy to recognize and support the complete forest products sector as an undivided whole, which includes landowners, mills, pulp and paper, harvesting and transportation infrastructure, and bioenergy as necessary parts of sustainable forestry.

The fact is, Washington’s ambitious goals to limit greenhouse gas emissions will not be met without the carbon sequestration and storage from working forests and wood products. As the second largest softwood lumber producer in the nation, Washington’s sustainably managed forests and production of wood products is our state’s natural carbon solution.

Thank you SB 6355 co-sponsors: Sens. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim), Shelly Short (R-Addy), Dean Takko (D-Longview), Curtis King (R-Yakima), Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), Hans Zeiger(R-Puyallup), Steve Conway (D-Tacoma), Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch), Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood), Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake), Jim Honeyford (R- Sunnyside) and Keith Wagoner (R-Sedro Woolley).

Thank you HB 2528 co-sponsors: Reps. Bill Ramos (D-Issaquah), Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis), Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles), Matt Boehnke (R-Kennewick), Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen), Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien), Steve Tharinger (D-Sequim) and Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle).