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Boating industry group rails against legislation

OCT. 17 — The National Marine Manufacturers Association is encouraging the public to oppose legislation S.1930 proposed by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to “Combat Illegal Logging Act of 2007,” which attempts to amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to restrict trade in illegally harvested timber products, according to information from the Library of Congress.

The NMMA states in a press release that, though it is opposed to illegally harvested timber, it does not agree with the legislation placing responsibility on small domestic manufacturers to enforce foreign laws, rather than allowing the government to address the problem internationally.

NMMA’s argument is that if S.1930 is passed, importers and manufacturers of wood for boats and yachts will not be protected, and be forced to prove that timber was legally harvested, rather than the government.

“It is unacceptable to expect small businesses to be familiar with and enforce so many foreign regulations,” states the release.

However, a report from the American Forest and Paper Association, which supports the legislation, states that up to 10 percent of global timber production could be of suspicious origin, which depresses the legally harvested wood around the world prices by 7 to 16 percent on average. The report further states that if this was not a problem, the estimated value of U.S. wood exports (that fine teak trim on a Down Easter, for example) could increase by over $460 million each year.

The last action on this bill was taken on Aug. 1 when it was referred to the Senate Committee. At this time, it has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, according to the Library of Congress.

— Elizabeth Ellis