Roadless Rules

The NAHB is urging the U.S. Forest Service to ensure the adequate supply of timber nationwide and to protect the livelihood of builders and other local businesses in Alaska, by exempting the Tongass and the Chugach National Forests from consideration under the proposed Roadless Area Conservation Rule (the "Roadless Rule") for national forests.

The Roadless Rule "will result in higher and more volatile lumber prices and will negatively affect housing affordability across the nation," says NAHB executive vice president and CEO Jerry Howard, and builders "need assurances that reasonable timber harvests will be allowed."

The NAHB believes local communities, tribes, and state government should determine the permissible level of recreational and commercial activities in Alaska's forests, because they depend on the economic benefits those forests provide. "Current regulations already prohibit timber harvesting on 95 percent of National Forest land in Alaska," Howard adds.

Tech Words

Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., will provide the technology keynote address on Jan. 20--"Discovery Day"--at the 2004 International Builders' Show (IBS) in Las Vegas. He will focus on the evolution of technology in the next few years and how builders can best take advantage of these developments.

Immelt, 47, was appointed CEO of GE in September of 2001, having joined the company in 1982. Previously he served as president and chairman-elect of GE, beginning in November 2000, when GE's board of directors selected him to succeed Jack Welch.

Admission to the address is free for IBS attendees and exhibitors. For registration details, visit and click on "registration."

Game On

It's not "Soul Calibur II" or "Silent Hill 3," but the simulated home building game, "Building Homes of Our Own," has captured the imagination--and attention--of middle- and high-school students across the country.

"'Building Homes of Our Own' is the most successful education program we've embarked on, and the proof is in the extraordinary demand from teachers and the enthusiasm of students," says Kent Conine, president of the NAHB.

The game features three levels of play within each of the four building sites found in urban, suburban, rivers and lakes, and coastline settings.

Since its release in September 2002, "Building Homes of Our Own" has been delivered free and by request to 22,500 teachers.

Under Attack

HUD's ability to improve housing opportunities for America's working families would be severely undermined if Congress agrees to a Bush administration plan to transfer current program oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from HUD to Treasury, the NAHB argues.

NAHB president Kent Conine says such a change "constitutes an attack on the mission of HUD by disrupting the capacity of the two giant mortgage lenders to provide the liquidity and stability needed to keep mortgage credit available at the lowest possible cost."

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Las Vegas, NV.