The Lacey Act protects forests making it one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation in US law books. An amendment to the Lacey Act is the first-ever law prohibiting the trade of products made with illegally logged wood. The Lacey Act was first passed in 1900 to ban the transport of poached game across state lines. It was amended in 2008 to bar importing wood that is illegally exported under another country’s laws.
The May 2008, Congressional amendments to the Lacey Act prohibit commerce in plant and plant products that were taken in violation of state, tribal or foreign law. The amendments also require importers to declare the species and country of origin of plants or plant products imported into the US, including information for wood materials used in products.
In essence, the Lacey Act closes the American timber market to illegally harvested wood. In addition to obvious environmental benefits, it makes good economic sense to stop illegal logging. The law effectively prevents cheap wood from undercutting prices in the industry.
Most illegal hardwood comes from tropical forests for use in furniture, cabinets and home décor. The Lacey Act blocks the importation of raw material and products made from illegal wood, eliminating the US market for these products.
In addition to protecting US businesses, the Lacey Act also protects forests.
Given the benefits it provides to the US wood industry, the US economy, and tropical forests, the Lacey Act is a vital part of American environmental law.
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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