AF&PA on the Issues
American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) members make sustainable paper and wood-based products that are used daily by people across the country and around the world — products that play an important role in literacy, education, hygiene, food safety, product marketing and protection and home and office construction.
The forest products industry directly employs approximately 950,000 men and women and is built on principles of sustainability: producing recyclable products from a renewable resource. We are among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. More than 75 percent of U.S. pulp and paper mills are located in counties designated by the Census Bureau as more than 80 percent rural. We support market-based policies and regulations that foster economic growth, job creation and international competitiveness in this vital sector. We believe public policies are most effective when they meet the economic needs, environmental concerns and societal expectations of our diverse communities.
AF&PA's 2020 advocacy priorities include:
Carbon Neutrality of Biomass
Paper and wood products manufacturers use as much of the tree as possible to make paper, packaging and wood products, while remaining residuals are used as a renewable energy source (biomass) to power mills. The carbon neutrality of biomass harvested from sustainably-managed forests has been repeatedly recognized by studies, agencies, institutions, legislation and rules around the world. AF&PA has for many years advocated for science-based policies that acknowledge the carbon neutrality of biomass and provide regulatory certainty to level the playing field for global competition and the protection of rural American jobs.
Continued Success for Paper Recycling at the State and Federal Level
Efforts to ban, tax or restrict access to paper products discourages the use of products that are recyclable, compostable, reusable and made from renewable and recycled material. AF&PA supports Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) RECYCLE Act, which recognizes that educating consumers on the right ways to recycle is one of the best ways we can increase the quantity and quality of paper in the recycling stream.
U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers have spent billions of dollars on regulatory compliance and are estimated to spend billions in new capital expenditures over the next decade. Measures that streamline the permit process and reduce cost and uncertainty of regulations remain a top priority.
Paper and wood products manufacturers face a nationwide shortage of transportation capacity, an aging infrastructure, and inefficient surface transportation policies. As a result, connecting our products, raw materials and consumers is difficult and costly. Specifically, AF&PA encourages necessary infrastructure enhancements, increasing truck weight limits on federal interstate highways and freight rail system reforms that prioritize shippers’ concerns.
In addition to these priorities, AF&PA remains engaged in important advocacy discussions related to international trade and climate policy.