Tester Pushes Bill to Spark Montana’s Timber Industry

Senator’s Timber Innovation Act Could Open Up Huge New Market to Montana Wood Products

(Billings, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is pushing a bill that could kick start Montana’s timber industry by taking the first step towards opening up a massive commercial market to certain wood products, like cross-laminated timber (CLT).

Tester helped introduce the Timber Innovation Act last year and is now urging his colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee to include his bill in the 2018 Farm Bill.

“By expanding the research and development of mass timber technologies and applications, [this bill] presents Congress with the opportunity to support the deployment of a proven-safe, domestic renewable resource,” Tester wrote to the Committee. “Passage of this important legislation will drive innovation in engineering as well as provide rural economies with a new market and the tools necessary to achieve long-term prosperity.”

Currently, the vast majority of multi-story buildings are made of steel and concrete, despite a growing body of evidence that wood could be more eco-friendly and just as structurally sound. That’s why Tester’s bill will fund research into the viability and potential benefits of using certain wood products-like CLT-on a large, commercial scale.

“Investing in this kind of research and innovation now could mean huge returns later,” Tester said. “Because finding new uses for Treasure State timber would generate huge benefits, not just for our economy but for our environment.”

As part of his statewide Barnstormin’ listening tour, Tester got input from folks in Missoula about crafting a Farm Bill that will strengthen conservation efforts and put folks back to work in the woods.

Tester’s bill is supported by the National Wildlife Federation, the Montana Wood Products Association, the American Wood Council, and 73 softwood lumber groups.

Tester’s letter is available HERE.