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Shaheen, Capito Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Granite State Forest and Commercial Building Owners with Sustainability Practices

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) reintroduced their bipartisan bill, the Forest Incentives Program Act, earlier today to help landowners make forest management more affordable and provide them with sustainable options to preserve their land. With financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), private forest owners would be encouraged to employ environmentally conscious forest management techniques. Additionally, non-residential building owners would be incentivized to use less-energy intensive products, such as wood, for structural building materials.

“The sustainability of our state’s private forests is critical to preserve our natural resources and support the North Country’s local economy,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m leading this bipartisan legislation to help make forest management more affordable for Granite Staters and incentivize sustainable methods for preserving our working forests. Empowering forest owners with the resources they need is a commonsense step towards bolstering our forestry industry and local ecosystems. I’ll continue to work across the aisle to provide our rural communities with the tools they need to grow.”

“West Virginia is recognized across the country and world for our natural beauty and our many outdoor recreational opportunities. This legislation helps maintain that natural splendor by making forest conservation more affordable for private landowners, and incentivizes the deployment of new techniques to better maintain their forests. Conservation efforts like this are critical for ensuring that our forests remain strong and vibrant for generations to come, and I am proud to once again join Senator Shaheen in introducing this legislation,” Senator Capito said.

Specifically, the bill directs the USDA to establish an incentive program that allows eligible forest landowners to enter into a long-term contract to adopt conservation practices that have been proven to deliver emissions reductions. The bill also creates financial incentives for commercial building owners to use biological products, such as wood, as structural building materials instead of more energy-intensive materials.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

Senator Shaheen has long advocated for America’s forests and initiatives that would survey and repurpose biomass for clean energy initiatives. In the government funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2023, Shaheen secured $40 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), which is a $5 million increase above the FY 2022 funding level and the highest the program has ever been funded. The NBRC helps address community and economic development needs throughout the Northern Forest region, which includes supporting the infrastructure needs of the forest products industry.