Baucus: Use Montana Timber Products for Government Buildings

Posted: July 10, 2011

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Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus is leading a bipartisan effort to urge the federal government to take steps to use American-grown timber in new construction for government office buildings. In a letter to the head of the General Services Administration, Baucus urged the GSA to rethink a practice that hurts Montana forestry jobs by discriminating against American grownwood.

“This is one more way we can work to support Montana timber industry jobs.  Millions of acres of Montana forests are unfairly left out of federal government construction projects because of this rule. We have a wealth of environmentally sustainable building materials in Montana and I’m going to push the General Services Administration to use our home grown products first. Montana jobs depend on it,” said Baucus.

The General Services Administration (GSA) owns and leases over 354 million square feet of space in 8,600 buildings across the country.

In a letter co-signed by Senator Vitter (R-Louisiana), Senator Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), and Senator Boozman (R-Arkansas) to General Services Administrator Martha Johnson, Baucus argued green building standards for new construction hurt Montana forestry jobs by using a faulty update in process. Baucus explained:

  • The General Services Administration mandates new construction to adhere to its green building rating system (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
  • But, the system fails to recognize two of the largest forest certification programs in the U.S. known as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the American Tree Farm system.
  • 1.2 million acres of forests in Montana are certified through either the Sustainable Forestry Initiative or the American Tree Farm System.
    In March, Baucus also urged the U.S. Forest Service to stop discriminating against American timber for new construction.