PCA: ‘Timber Innovation Act’ is anti-competitive government

Washington, D.C. — The Portland Cement Association (PCA) urged Congress to reject the “Timber Innovation Act” introduced this week in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, noting it unfairly puts the federal government in the business of promoting wood-related building materials over others.

“This bill is a blatant attempt by the wood industry to secure a competitive advantage through legislative means,” said PCA Executive Vice President A. Todd Johnston.  “Our government should not be in the business promoting one building material over another.”

Among its provisions, the bill promotes the wood materials sector by incentivizing state and local governments, universities and private companies with federal funds to conduct research and development, outreach and education to advance the use of mass timber products in construction.

“Construction-material decisions should be driven by the marketplace, through fair competition based on consumer demand,” Johnston said.  “U.S. cement consumption has yet to return to pre-recession levels, making it even more important that our industry not be undermined by policies like these from the federal government.”

According to PCA, the U.S. cement industry is currently operating at roughly 79 percent of capacity, estimated at 108 million metric tons per year.  Activities related to cement and concrete production in the U.S. employ nearly 535,000 workers, with a total annual payroll of approximately $25 billion.  Of this, cement manufacturing represents over 14,300 workers with an annual payroll of about $1 billion.

“Our country’s cement manufacturers are ready to help rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and compete for business as the housing and construction sectors slowly recover,” Johnston said. “We want fair competition – bills like these would rig the game.”