April 03, 2024

DHA eNews - Status Of EPA's Formaldehyde Risk Evaluation

DHA Insights: April 4, 2024

In our last newsletter, I started by stating that "the Biden administration continued its regulatory onslaught on March 15 with EPA's release of a new formaldehyde risk evaluation." This rush to finalize regulations before the election appears to be a trend and a high priority. Stories featured below include new heavy truck regulations that mandate 30% zero-emission trucks in just eight years. Can you imagine electric logging trucks? In addition, regulators are reversing policy and will no longer allow the economic impact to factor into endangered species designations. 

Last week, DHA requested an extension to file comments on EPA’s draft formaldehyde risk evaluation. We are reviewing all 1,000+ pages and preparing detailed comments with our allies. We will keep members informed. We'll discuss that evaluation in more detail during our Technical Committee meeting at DHA’s Annual Meeting in Scottsdale in May. Please join us.

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

Keith A. Christman, President
Decorative Hardwoods Association

Status Of EPA's Formaldehyde Risk Evaluation

In our last newsletter, we reported on the recently released EPA draft risk evaluation which concluded that formaldehyde presents an unreasonable risk to human health. EPA has allowed only 60 days to review and respond with comments on the over 1,000-page document. DHA and other organizations have requested an extension to file comments to allow us to carefully study the evaluation and respond.

Are Electric Logging Trucks Coming To A Forest Near You?

On March 29, EPA set strict emission standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses in an attempt to fight climate change. The complex new rule requires 30% of "heavy-heavy-duty vocational" trucks to be zero-emission—electric—by 2032.

Lawmakers Oppose Old-Growth Proposal

A new bill would prevent the Biden administration from proceeding with the current old-growth forest plan. The plan, which imposes a one-size-fits-all approach to classifying old-growth forests, would remove more national forest acreage from sustainable forest management and create complex new management requirements.

More Wins For The Hardwood Industry

The recently enacted fiscal year 2024 spending package includes important priorities for the hardwood industry. The new law classifies biomass as carbon neutral across federal agencies, directs the Forest Products Laboratory to conduct a study quantifying the amount of carbon stored in wood products, and states that "efforts will also continue to focus on the environmental lifecycle benefits of wood products in the built environment."

Administration Reverses Endangered Species Policy

On March 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it will reverse policy and no longer consider the economic impact when making Endangered Species Act designations, despite feedback from organizations like the Hardwood Federation, who urged regulators to allow flexibility. Previously, regulators rejected the one-size-fits-all policy that had significantly expanded the number of endangered listings.

White Oak Bill Advances In Congress

The White Oak Resilience Act advanced after a unanimous vote in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. The bill was championed by a diverse coalition of industries, agencies, private landowners, and conservation groups.

New Tool Helps Combat Oak Wilt

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has created a satellite mapping system that tells forest owners when it’s the safest time to harvest or prune oak trees. The tool will help slow the spread of oak wilt, a fungal disease that kills thousands of trees every year. Oaks are most susceptible to contracting and spreading the disease when cut or damaged.

The U.S. Timber Industry Is Being Dismantled, One Mill At A Time

The American Loggers Council has warned about the unhealthy state of the U.S. timber and forest products industries. Read more about the council's take on what's happening to our industry and the consequences, including the long list of forest products mills that have shut down in the past 15 months.

Roseburg Exits Particleboard Manufacturing

DHA member Roseburg has permanently ceased operations at its Missoula, MT, particleboard plant. The company will focus its resources on MDF, engineered wood, plywood, and lumber.

U.S. Senators Concerned About EUDR

U.S. lawmakers continue to urge the U.S. Trade Representative to fight for American forest products in the global market. Senators expressed serious concern about the potential negative effects of the EUDR on the U.S. forest products industry.

More European Timber Organizations Push Back On EUDR

The European timber industry is calling for a delay in implementing the EUDR, stating that systems and companies are not ready. The statement was signed by the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries, the European Furniture Industries Confederation, and four other organizations.

Belarus Is Evading EU Sanctions

Recent investigations show that Belarus has been circumventing sanctions by exporting timber to the EU through Poland. False documentation claims that the source of the timber is Kazakhstan, a country with very little forestland. EU imports of timber supposedly from Kazakhstan have boomed after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

China's Imports Of Russian Plywood Soar

Russia was the largest supplier of plywood to China in 2023. China’s imports of plywood from Russia more than doubled, soaring by 107% to 239,000 cubic meters to make up 81% of the total import volume. China Customs reports that imports of plywood in 2023 reached 295,000 cubic meters valued at $206 million, up by 51% in volume and 9% in value vs. 2022.

Which Countries Import The Most Plywood?

The U.S. is the top market and largest importer of plywood, importing more than $2 billion in 2023. Rounding out the top five are Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

U.S. Single-Family Housing Starts Close To Two-Year High
U.S. New Home Sales Up By 5.9%
U.S. Existing-Home Sales Post Largest Monthly Gain In One Year
Canadian Housing Starts Jump By 14%
Housing Construction Starts Stagnate In Canada’s Major Cities
Inflation In Canada Slows Unexpectedly
U.S. Builder Confidence Returns To Solid Ground
Consumer Confidence Remains Stable
Higher Mortgage Rate Forecast Causes Expectations Of 2024 Home Sales To Decline
Homebuyers Want Smaller Homes
Wood Trivia: Test Your Knowledge

What are the world's largest hardwood trees and where are they located?

Answer: Eucalyptus trees, in Australia.

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