Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, last week in a speech before the Economic Club of Washington, Speaker Boehner used this tried and true Republican applause line: ``Excessive regulations are making it harder for our economy to create jobs.'' But then he followed up with a real-life example. ``Last month, Federal agents raided Gibson Guitar factories in Tennessee. Gibson is a well-respected American company that employs thousands of people. The company's costs were $2 million to $3 million.
Why? Because Gibson bought wood overseas to make guitars in America. Seriously.'' Well, seriously, Mr. Speaker, you were seriously--well, not necessarily you, I know you can't write all of your speeches, but you were done a disservice by your speech writers who could have done a little more research about the background of what was happening there. The Federal Government was involved with enforcing the Lacey Act which actually makes it easier to protect American jobs and manufacture here at home.
In 2008, I was pleased to be part of leading an effort working with the Bush administration in a bipartisan fashion to amend the Lacey Act, which bars trade in illegally harvested species to include trade in illegally harvested timber. Illegal logging threatens some of the world's richest and most vulnerable forests, but more important, it threatens tens of thousands of jobs right here in the United States. Over 50 trade associations, nonprofits, and unions representing the entire range of the U.S. economy signed statements supporting this amendment to the Lacey Act and its proper implementation.
This is serious business. People who cheat by knowingly using wood products that are bought illegally overseas cost American jobs. The estimate was over $1 billion every year in lost opportunities and lower prices because of the illegal logging. We wanted to increase American jobs here at home, so we created a mechanism so that people would have an incentive to stop cheating, to stop competing unfairly against American businesses that are following the rules.
It's interesting to note that in 2009 when Gibson was first brought to the attention of the enforcement agencies and a process started, because of concerns that they may have taken illegal timber from Madagascar, on the floor of the House, over 400 Representatives voted in favor of a resolution I had condemning illegal logging in Madagascar.
We find there are people right here in the United States who understand this dynamic. The success of the Lacey Act rests on a simple principle: rewarding companies that follow the law while shedding light on bad actors. It ensures that American business using foreign wood, like guitar makers, pay attention to the sources of their wood. We had very powerful testimonies of what happens in illegal logging. It doesn't just destroy fragile ecosystems and threaten a scarce and dwindling supply of rare species of wood, it destabilizes those countries. The people who are engaged in the traffic of illegal timber threaten, they corrupt, and sometimes they kill. It is possible to figure this out. People need to pay attention.
Guitar makers like C.F. Martin Guitar are strongly supportive of the law. I quote: ``I think the Lacey Act is a wonderful thing. I think illegal logging is appalling,'' the company's CEO, [Page: H6277] Chris Martin, said in a recent interview. ``It should stop, and if this is what it takes to stop unscrupulous operators, I'm all for it.'' Mr. Speaker, this is serious business. Being able to have protections to protect American manufacturers from unfair competition by people who skirt the rules, people who cheat, is in everybody's interest. Let's let the process ongoing right now work its way out. Let's see if there's a problem. But by all means, we ought to protect the integrity of the Lacey Act, which is designed to save these tens of thousands of jobs here at home and the environment abroad. END