Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed the bill that creates the Logger Relief Act, so the process of creating the rules about how loggers can qualify and sign up for the benefit will soon begin.
House Bill 642 by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder uses money the state received from the federal government because of the pandemic and creates the vehicle by which loggers who lost at least 10 percent of their income due to the shutdown in 2020. Now signed, the legislation becomes Act 410.
The law uses the Louisiana Main Street Program to get the aid to ailing loggers. Now a committee that includes help from the Louisiana Forestry Association (LFA) and Louisiana Logging Council (LLC) will help outline the requirements and procedures. To receive aid, loggers must be Master Logger, a training program using Best Management Practices (BMPs) of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). That program is administered by the LFA and LLC.
LFA Executive Director Buck Vandersteen, who also heads the LLC,
"The Louisiana Logging Council and Louisiana Forestry Association are most appreciative of the governor's support for the Logger Relief Act in legislation passed during the 2021 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature," Vandersteen said. "We also are appreciative of the effort so of House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, Senate President Page Cortez and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerome "Zee" Zeringue for leadership in providing this critical need for loggers in Louisiana."
Vandersteen said his hope is that the aid will begin to get to loggers by summer's end.