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Carter leads bipartisan bill to help working forests recover from natural disasters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) this week introduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) to help working forests recover from natural disasters. The Disaster Reforestation Act would reduce the financial burden of recovery by amending the tax code to recognize the value of destroyed timber.

The current tax code disadvantages forest landowners by restricting their ability to claim loss from destroyed timber, harming their ability to reforest lands. Timber typically takes 20 to 80 years to yield profit for the forester making it extremely difficult to recover after a catastrophic loss. 

By providing for the equitable tax treatment of casualty loss of their timber crop when disaster strikes, this bill will foster stability and growth in one of Georgia’s key industries and promote environmental wellness through reforestation.

“Forestry is a vital part of rural economies all across our country, especially right here in Georgia,” said Rep. Carter. “Unfortunately, the current tax code provides no recourse for working forests struck by natural disasters. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Sewell and our partners from across the country to address this issue. The Disaster Reforestation Act will ensure timber farming is a viable way of life, protecting the many jobs and consumer products it supports and its positive impact to our environment.”

“Alabama’s forests play a critical role in keeping our economy and environment healthy,” said Rep. Sewell. “Tragically, our private forest owners are often left devastated as a result of severe storms and natural disasters. As we continue to recover from the storms that struck Alabama on January 12th, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Disaster Reforestation Act which will offer a helping hand to Alabama’s private forest owners as they work to reforest after natural disasters.”

“America’s private forest landowners have been waiting for this fix in the tax code for a long time and as wildfire and hurricane seasons ramp up, they are appreciative of Representative Carter and Sewell’s efforts to advance this commonsense bill,” said Forest Landowners Association CEO Scott Jones. “The legislation will not only help timber owners recover from natural disasters but will stimulate rural economies, support our nation’s domestic timber supply, and provide environmental benefits to the nation.”

Read the full bill text here