Press Release: Congressman Jason Smith’s Capitol Report
WASHINGTON – Many people do not realize that Missouri is one of the leading producers of timber products in the United States. The timber and related industries provides jobs to over 47,000 Missourians and injects over $8 billion dollars into our state’s economy. Right here in Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District the timber industry is healthy, but if we could get the government out of the way, it could thrive. This week I spent time meeting the families who operate some of the timber-related businesses in our district to highlight the important role the industry plays in our rural economy.
Near Salem, I toured a charcoal production company to see the process for turning wood scraps into charcoal bricks. In the small town of Dudley, I visited a cabinet manufacturer that employs over 700 people with good-paying jobs. In Licking I toured a company that makes wood shavings for animal stalls and also makes telephone poles. At a company in Scott City, I learned how technology has helped the company produce the finest quality oak hardwood flooring for trailers, truck bodies and containers. In Farmington I visited a family owned lumber company that can trace its roots back to the 1800s when the family started sawing hardwood logs that eventually built homes and businesses throughout the region. Outside of Cuba I visited a company that has set the industry standard for the production of finely crafted white oak wine barrels.
Too often Washington bureaucrats prevent small business owners in Missouri from using our vast natural resources. In our own Mark Twain National Forest, excessive rules and regulations have slowed down and prevented timber harvests. Timber harvests are so low in the Mark Twain National Forest that trees are dying before they can be cut down. When a tree dies, its wood eventually loses all economic value. Dead trees also take up space in the forest that could be occupied by healthy trees. The Mark Twain Forest is in danger of becoming full of useless dead trees that pose a severe fire hazard.
It will come as a surprise to no one that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking to regulate timber products. Just this year the EPA announced proposed regulations on wood-burning stoves that many people in our district rely on for cheap and effective heat. What is truly ironic is that the Forest Service is burning timber that could be harvested in the Mark Twain National Forest, filling the skies with wood smoke, while at the exact same time the EPA is trying to force unreasonable environmental standards on wood stoves – supposedly to reduce wood smoke! I will continue fighting these arbitrary, intrusive and unproductive EPA regulations. dudley,
In the 15 different stops on our Eighth Congressional District Timber Industry Tour, I listened as families shared their uniquely American story of building their business from nothing with the hopes of passing it on to the next generation. Our region is blessed with abundant natural resources that support the timber industry. As your representative in the halls of Congress, I will continue working to ensure Washington bureaucrats and their ineffective and unworkable regulations do not kill our region’s timber industry.