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Rep. McMorris Rodgers Seeks to Ban wood imports from Russia, Belarus

The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and Alaska Congressman Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, introduced the No Timber From Tyrants Act Thursday to ban imports of forest products from Russia and Belarus.

They are selling the bill as another way to fight back against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Rodgers and Westerman were joined in introducing the legislation on April 7 by more than 40 of their House colleagues.

The legislation would also ramp up the harvesting of American timber, which McMorris Rodgers and Westerman say will make the nation’s forests more resilient.

“The timber industry helped build the Pacific Northwest, and with more than 6.5 million acres of forestland, Eastern Washington is in a position to lead and deliver results,” said McMorris Rodgers. “By proactively managing these forests and responsibly harvesting more timber, we can increase exports to support our allies, decrease the world’s dangerous dependence on Russia, and make our lands more resilient to catastrophic wildfires.”

In 2021, the U.S. imported more than half-a-billion dollars’ worth of wood products from Russia ($459 million) and Belarus ($52 million). The No Timber From Tyrants Act would halt that while Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine.

Sponsors say the legislation would also improve the health of America’s forests and create new jobs harvesting trees from lands that are prone to fires.

“America should be pushing back on Putin’s war of aggression from every possible angle, and there’s no better way to do that than by cutting Russia’s economy off at the knees,” said Westerman.“We imported hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of wood products from Russia last year alone, giving Russia the power to channel those funds directly into Putin’s war. No more.

“By immediately banning the import of all Russian timber, we can not only deal a harsh blow to tyranny, but we can also simultaneously boost American industries. Enough rhetoric – it’s time to show Putin we mean business and stop economically propping up his senseless violence. I’m proud to see so many of my colleagues joining me in this effort, and hope to see this bill passed quickly.”

This legislation builds on McMorris Rodgers’ and Westerman’s efforts to expand American energy dominance and thereby make it harder for energy-exporting Russia to profit.

Last month, the pair of lawmakers pushed the American Energy Independence from Russia Act, which would okay the Keystone pipeline, boost natural gas production, and ramp up energy leases on federal lands. 

“Just like the American Energy Independence from Russia Act, the No Timber from Tyrants Act will help us expand our energy dominance on the world stage and fight back against Putin, and I’m proud to help introduce it today,” said McMorris Rodgers.