Move away from LEED
Debbie Fromdahl’s recent column “LEED’s restrictions on “green” building could hurt Douglas County’s economy,” made points well-known to members of Oregon’s timber communities.
Limiting the types of wood that can enter green markets disproportionately harms heavily forested states, such as Oregon.
A growing amount of data quantifies the costs of limiting choice in certification markets. In addition to the EconoSTATS study that showed 31,000 job losses in Oregon from mandating the Forest Stewardship Council’s standards on our land, a previous report by the American Consumer Institute determined that imposing Forest Stewardship Council standards nationally would lead to $24 billion in losses in paper products markets and $10 billion for wood products.
Policies which recognize wood certified by the American Tree Farm System, Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative provide more outlets for our businesses through which they can sell their forest products. Many Oregon businesses that promote sustainability, such as JELD-WEN, support the Sustainable Forestry Initiative; there is no good reason for LEED not to do the same.
Some lawmakers have woken up on this issue. Gov. Kitzhaber has taken several executive actions that seek to improve markets for state timber. Moving away from endorsing LEED standards would be a great first step.
Executive director, Douglas Timber Operators