Wicker Applauds USGBC Decision to Include U.S. Forest Products in LEED Rating System

April 6, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today applauded a decision by the U.S. Green Building Council to expand the use of forest products in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. This decision also includes recognizing the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). Wicker has been a longtime supporter of ending green building standard practices that discriminate against U.S. forest products.

“This is an important step for thousands of workers, landowners, and the future of our manufacturing industry,” Wicker said. “Domestically-produced timber products have significant economic and environmental benefits, not to mention the creation of good-paying jobs for Americans across the country. Moving forward, I will continue to encourage federal agencies to use more American-grown forest products in government construction and procurement activities.”

Last week, Wicker was joined by a group of eight Senators in sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encouraging the agency to recognize wood products that are certified to SFI and ATFS for lumber and wood purchasing in its federal procurement recommendations.

The Senators wrote, “Across the United States, more than 82 million acres of forestland are certified to either SFI or the ATFS.  This represents more than 70 percent of all certified forests in the United States.  These forests provide a renewable timber resource, clean water, wildlife habitats, and numerous other public benefits. They also support thousands of jobs.”

EPA's interim recommendations are inconsistent with other guidelines listed on its website as well as with numerous other federal agencies.  For example, the United States Department of Agriculture’s BioPreferred Program, which sets mandatory purchasing requirements for federal agencies, fully recognizes wood products and accepts the three most common, sustainable forest certification programs.