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The Relief Act Approved by Committee

In a 25 to 19 vote, the House Natural Resources Committee approved H.R. 3210, known as the Relief Act, on June 7. The bill, which provides an exception for instruments created before The Lacey Act's 2008 amendment, will now go to the U.S. House of Representatives for a possible mid-July vote.

According to a statement from NAMM, the Relief Act represents a solution to unintended consequences of The Lacey Act's 2008 amendment, while maintaining The Lacey Act's overall goals of protecting forests and wildlife.

"NAMM members stand united with all who support The Lacey Act's goal of protecting our precious natural resources," said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. "We believe the Relief Act addresses the unintended consequences of the law that affect instrument makers and owners. These new measures ensure a right of due process for innocent instrument owners and provide clarity to importers on the foreign laws they are expected to comply with."

The International Wood Products Association also issued a statement "to express its heartfelt thanks" to the committee for approving the bill. "While moderate in scope and simple in execution, the provisions of the Relief Act will significantly increase the protection of forests around the globe and also save American family businesses," the statement said. "It simply and elegantly brings the intent of the Lacey Act — preserving international forests from the ravages of illegal logging — in line with the practical effects of its implementation."

Not every group was as pleased. Climate Advisers, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm focused on climate-change policy, released a statement that claimed the bill will "open the floodgates for illegal imports, resulting in job losses in the U.S. forest products industry." The statement added that the Relief Act "only provides relief for illegal loggers."