If a Tree Falls in the Forest...
Loggers have been cutting timber in Maine for a couple hundred years now; there’s a reason they call it a heritage industry. Logging is a keystone in our state’s culture and economy, and I’d like that to continue for another 200 years. That’s why I’m working with our state’s loggers to make sure the industry has the tools it needs to continue to sustain small businesses, contribute to healthy forests, and provide good-paying jobs in rural Maine.
Since January, I’ve traveled around our state to hear from Mainers, and I’ve made a point of meeting with loggers and folks in the forest products industry. Here are a few of the biggest challenges I’ve heard about from loggers:
- Not enough qualified workers
- A need for new and expanded markets for our wood fiber
- Poor infrastructure
Congressman Golden meets with Maine’s American Forestry Foundation Delegation.
Given this feedback, here is some of the legislation I’m working hard to pass for Maine loggers:
Maine loggers can’t succeed if they don’t have good opportunities to sell their products. We need to look for new markets for Maine’s wood fiber and expand existing markets. I’m working to pass the Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act, bipartisan legislation that would encourage the use of wood-fueled biomass energy by incentivizing the use of wood-pellet boilers instead of oil boilers. The bill would expand tax incentives to include those who use energy efficient wood boilers, stoves, and headers in their homes and businesses.
I’ve also cosponsored the DRIVE Safe Act, legislation to make it easier for logging companies to hire new drivers. This bill would allow certified CDL licensed drivers under the age of 21 to cross state lines while on the job after successful completion of a rigorous apprenticeship program. The apprenticeship program will allow CDL drivers to log interstate drive time while promoting enhanced safety training.
The Future Logging Careers Act:
The logging industry is facing a workforce shortage and many logging businesses in Maine are smaller operations who count on family members to keep their business running. Those are two of the reasons Senator King and I introduced the Future Logging Careers Act. Our bill allows 16- and 17-year-olds to learn the ropes of family logging businesses on the job under parental supervision, better preparing Maine teens to take good logging jobs when they become adults.
I’m always looking for opportunities to hear from my constituents, and I’ll continue to meet folks out in their communities. Please feel free to stop by one of our offices to meet me and my staff, call us at one of the numbers below, or send us an email and let us know if there is any way we can serve you.
- Bangor Office - (207) 249-7400
- Caribou Office - (207) 492-6009
- Lewiston Office - (207) 241-6767
- Washington, DC Office - (202) 225-6306
Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Congress. I hope you will continue to keep me informed on the issues that matter to you.
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Member of Congress