Gluesenkamp Perez, Moore, Salinas Urge Federal Government to Expand Use of Mass Timber in Federal Buildings

Dec 13, 2023

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez visits the Huff Thinning Project in August.

This week, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), along with Reps. Barry Moore (AL-02) and Andrea Salinas (OR-06), led a bipartisan letter to the General Services Administration (GSA) encouraging expanded use of mass timber in federal buildings.

In the letter, the lawmakers express concern that while the GSA recently awarded $2 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding for 150 projects, none of the funds were awarded to projects using sustainable wood products, including mass timber. 

Utilizing wood products is critical for supporting rural jobs and reducing wildfire risk, and it is one of the most effective ways to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. These products come from renewable resources, store carbon, and don’t require the same fuel-intensive manufacturing process common for other building materials.

“Countries around the world have made building with wood a top priority to reach climate goals, yet our own federal government continues to lag in its adoption of low-embodied carbon wood products,” wrote the lawmakers. “As GSA continues to take steps to reduce the carbon footprint for the built environment within its real estate portfolio, we strongly urge you to ensure that low-embodied carbon wood products, such as mass timber, play a role.”

Across the United States, the forest products industry directly employs roughly 925,000 people and indirectly supports nearly 2 million jobs.

“If we want to support Southwest Washington timber economies, prevent wildfires, and rebuild meaningful jobs in the trades, our federal government needs to lead by example by building with home-grown wood products,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “I appreciate the support of my bipartisan colleagues to help ensure federal dollars going out the door make it to our local loggers and tradespeople. It’s what’s good for rural Americans and it’s what’s good for our environment.”

“Building with mass timber is a great way to leverage value-added properties of American timber,” said Rep. Moore. “Our foresters here in Alabama and across America deserved the chance to benefit from these construction projects, and I hope the Biden Administration will consider them in the future.”

“I am deeply concerned about GSA’s decision not to award Inflation Reduction Act funding to projects that use sustainable wood products. As a lead sponsor of the bipartisan Timber Innovation for Building Rural Communities Act, I believe we must invest in our working forests and help make them more resilient to wildfires and climate change,” said Rep. Salinas. “I join my colleagues in urging the Administration to utilize sustainable wood products moving forward, and I will continue working to ensure Oregon’s critical mass timber industry gets the support it deserves from our federal government.”

The letter was also signed by Reps. Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Jim Costa (CA-21), Don Davis (NC-01), John Garamendi (CA-08), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), and Glenn Thompson (PA-15).

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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