I'm a constituent and a voter.
I'm writing to urge you to support, when it is reintroduced, the Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act. When enacted, the FOREST Act will increase efforts to protect and restore forests globally and for governments to work together to reverse and eliminate illegal deforestation.
Nearly half of all tropical deforestation is estimated to be the result of illegal conversion of forest for commercial agriculture. Just four commodities—beef, soy, palm oil, and wood products—drive most of the deforestation. Agricultural commodities produced on illegally deforested land enter international markets and unfairly compete with products produced legally. Illegal deforestation is also often associated with corruption, organized crime, and human rights abuses, including violence against indigenous peoples and other environmental defenders.
The FOREST Act prohibits access to U.S. markets for commodities that originate from illegally deforested land—reducing the long-term incentive to sacrifice productive forests for agriculture uses. The bill also uses this market leverage to bring all interested parties together to improve laws, monitoring, and enforcement in countries experiencing illegal deforestation. Companies and governments are increasingly making commitments to end deforestation within their supply chains and borders. Yet the clearing of forests is accelerating, often in violation of a producer country’s laws, and companies are consistently falling short of their goals.
Elimination of commodity-driven deforestation is good for the environment and good for business. This bill creates the roadmap for how countries can use trade access to directly address deforestation internationally. Thanks.
▶ First sent on March 14 by Jess Craven