By: Jessica Hernandez
On Wednesday April 20th, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas) and a bipartisan group of members of Congress launched the Working Forests Caucus.
The caucus, which is co-chaired by Rep. Westerman and charter members Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington), Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia), and Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) was created to promote the benefits of America’s working forests and support policies to promote this renewable resource.
Robert Farris, the State Forester of Georgia and the Chair of the Southern Group of State Foresters addressed the caucus during its inaugural event on Capitol Hill. Farris spoke about Forest Action Plans, how these plans help target limited resources where they are needed most, and why these strategies and assessments are critical to sustain healthy working forests.
According to the American Forest and Paper Association, the forest products industry accounts for four percent of U.S. manufacturing GDP annually, manufacturing more than $200 billion in products. Georgia’s wood and fiber product manufacturing delivers $28.9 billion in economic benefit alone.
“Working forests are our nation’s number one renewable resource. Healthy working forests promote clean air and water. There is no downside to a healthy forest. Through my work in the Working Forests Caucus, I will be a voice for the Fourth District of Arkansas and the thousands employed in the forest products industry,” said Rep. Westerman.