By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Open Trade
The NAHB supports the bipartisan resolution introduced at the end of May in the House of Representatives calling for "open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers."
In May, the U.S. government imposed 27 percent tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada; those duties can add more than $1,000 to the cost of building a new home, imposing a hidden tax on American home buyers, the NAHB says.
"It would be impossible to meet the demand for housing without imports," says Bobby Rayburn, NAHB first vice president. "Imports don't replace domestic production. We can't significantly increase lumber production or lumber mill employment in the United States because we don't have any more trees available."
On May 20, the House approved the Healthy Forests Restoration Act. The legislation, endorsed by the NAHB, would reduce the risk of wildfire in national forests and areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management. It enables federal land management agencies to address wildfire-prone conditions that threaten stands of harvestable timber and communities adjacent to federal lands. The bill would also provide a streamlined judicial review process for forest-thinning projects up to 20 million acres.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the NAHB formed an alliance in May to advance jobsite safety. "Through the alliance, we will be able to leverage our association's resources and focus greater attention on addressing the educational needs of the residential construction industry workforce," says NAHB President Kent Conine.
Based on Faith
The NAHB has joined with Nueva Esperanza, the nation's largest Hispanic faith-based community development corporation, in an affordable housing coalition. It will work to remove barriers to homeownership and expand home buying opportunities for minority families, according to 2002 NAHB president and home builder Gary Garczynski, speaking at a ceremony marking the occasion in Washington on May 14.
"The NAHB will not only serve as the home building arm of this initiative, we will also participate in communication and education efforts with communities and prospective home buyers, assist in seeking support from state and local government agencies, and help identify financing resources," said Garczynski.
The coalition's first venture, the Orlando Project, will build homes on 20 acres owned by Hispanic congregations in Orlando, Fla.
H. Daniel Pincus, Franklin D. Raines, Nicolas P. Retsinas, and Peter W. Segal are the latest inductees to the National Housing Hall of Fame. They join some 200 other housing luminaries -- builder/developers, public officials, land and community planners, educators, and others -- honored since 1976 "for possessing the spirit, ingenuity, and determination to change.