March 19, 2024

DHA eNews - EPA's New Formaldehyde Risk Evaluation Would Lead to Draconian Regulations

DHA Insights: March 21, 2024

The Biden administration continued its regulatory onslaught on March 15 with EPA's release of a new formaldehyde risk evaluation. EPA is rushing to finalize the risk evaluation in 2024 while under the current administration. The risk evaluation would be followed by new regulations on wood products, workplaces, and many other industries in 2026. DHA is collaborating with industry allies on a detailed response.

The EU Deforestation Regulation, widely viewed as unworkable, continues to get a lot of attention in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. wood products industry has asked the U.S. government to help address its concerns with the EU. Deforestation isn’t a problem in the U.S., as U.S. forests are growing. The American Hardwood Export Council issued a trade alert and is working on a plan to address the new regulations. AHEC will be speaking about the status of these efforts at DHA’s Annual Meeting. I encourage all DHA members to join us there.

If you have questions or comments, contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Keith A. Christman, President
Decorative Hardwoods Association

The Consequences Of EPA's New Formaldehyde Risk Evaluation

In a draft risk evaluation on March 15, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that formaldehyde presents an unreasonable risk to human health. This begins a new regulatory process that could result in stringent new regulations in 2026.

In response, the American Chemistry Council stated that "EPA’s suggested workplace limits are unworkable and ignore practices that are already in place to protect workers" and that the new limits "are 30 times below the recently updated European Union occupational limits of 300 parts per billion, lower than levels that can be detected, and below levels measured in ambient urban air and U.S. residences."

EPA is accepting public comments for 60 days as they rush to finalize the risk evaluation by the end of 2024.

Wood Industry Urges Action On EUDR

Numerous organizations in the wood products industry signed a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative urging Ambassador Tai to keep pressure on her EU counterparts to make the EU Deforestation Regulation workable for U.S. exporters. The impact of the regulation in its current state could be particularly onerous for forests with a large number of private landowners.

AHEC Issues EUDR Trade Alert

The American Hardwood Export Council issued a Trade Alert on the EU Deforestation Regulation. The regulation is still on track to be implemented beginning on January 1, 2025, for large European importers (those with annual revenue greater than €50 million or more than 250 employees) and on June 30 for smaller importers. EUDR is widely viewed as unworkable. AHEC is working on a proposed solution and is preparing a pilot test to present to the European Commission at the end of this month.

Hardwood Industry Pushes For Repeal Of New Air Quality Standard

The Hardwood Federation joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others to support a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to rescind EPA's new air quality standards for fine particulate matter. In February, EPA lowered the air quality standard for fine particulate matter from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to a more stringent 9 mg. This action could add up to $900 million in compliance costs for the U.S. wood products industry.

Court Throws Out Corporate Transparency Act

A federal court has ruled that the Corporate Transparency Act is unconstitutional. The law would have imposed multiple reporting requirements on small and medium-sized businesses. Members of the wood industry signed a letter in November urging Congress to delay the law's implementation.

Hoffmann Companies Acquires Besse

The Hoffmann Family of Companies will acquire DHA member Besse Forest Products Group. With more than 2 million square feet of production facilities and more than 1,400 employees, the combined strength of Besse and Hoffmann makes the company a significant player in the wood products manufacturing industry.

Canada, U.S. Celebrate International Day Of Forests

March 21 is the International Day of Forests. Canada and the U.S. rank third and fourth, respectively, as the most-forested countries in the world. Tens of thousands of Canadians work in forestry, logging, and supporting industries. About 950,000 people work in the U.S. forest products industry.

EU Finds Illegal Imports Of Russian Birch Plywood

A recent investigation by the European Commission found that Russian birch plywood is being imported into the EU through Turkey and Kazakhstan to avoid paying antidumping duties. 

Experts Can Identify The Harvest Location Of Illegal Timber

A new process of analyzing timber can "confidently identify the location in which the tree was harvested." Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden developed the process to identify illegal timber imported from Russia and Belarus.

German, Austrian & Swiss Wood Industries Challenge EUDR

The associations of the sawmill and wood industries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland agree about the negative impact of the EU Deforestation Regulation. In a recent meeting, they called for "urgently needed" changes to the EUDR, which they said "hangs over the industry like the sword of Damocles."

Paris Olympics Will Showcase Wood Architecture

In a push to boost sustainability, Paris, the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics, will build with reusable timber. The new 5,000-seat Olympic Aquatics Center will be built primarily of wood and constructed like a LEGO set.

Pacific Northwest Faces Critical Shortage Of Timber

The American Forest Resource Council is pushing Congress to address crucial challenges facing the Pacific Northwest's forest and wood products sector. Several factors are contributing to a crisis in regional supply. These include the 2020 Oregon Labor Day fires as well as legislative and policy changes, such as the Oregon Private Forest Accord and state forest management plans in Oregon and Washington, which are reducing the supply of raw materials.

Warm Winter Wreaks Havoc On Logging Industry

Warm weather and mud over the past 18 months have devastated Vermont's $1.4 billion forest products industry. Experts estimate that loggers have lost tens of millions of dollars to a wet summer and two warm winters.

U.S. Pending Home Sales Drop By 4.9%
Strong Rebound In U.S. Single-Family Permits
Canadian Housing Starts Increase By 14%
Average Canadian Home Price Grows By 0.4%
Single-Family Construction Spending Continues To Rise
U.S. Manufacturing Dips; Wood & Furniture Decline
Construction Job Openings Surge By 41%
Economy Adds 275,000 Jobs
Prices For Building Materials Increase By 0.49%
Why Builders Are Optimistic About Spring
Cabinetmakers: Enter The Wood Diamond Awards
Wood Trivia: Test Your Knowledge

Who composed the song "Johnny Appleseed" and when was the song composed?

Answer: Steve Gillette in 1774

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