Tester, Daines look to wood building research, industry boost

By Missoula Current

U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester have introduced new legislation that would support Montana’s timber industry and help accelerate research and development of tall wood buildings in the United States.

If adopted, the Timber Innovation Act would explore ways to use wood in the construction of buildings above 85 feet in height, or roughly seven or more stories.

“In Montana, we have an abundance of trees, and through innovative technology we can create new uses and applications for Montana’s natural resources,” Daines said. “By incentivizing the use of wood in building materials, we can create more good-paying jobs.”

The bill would also incentivize investment through the National Forest Products Lab and U.S. colleges and universities to conduct research and development on constructing tall wood buildings.

The act would also support ongoing efforts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support the use of wood products as a building material for tall buildings.

“Montana’s forests help drive our state’s economy,” said Tester. “This bipartisan legislation will make responsible investments in new technology, create good-paying jobs, and boost our wood products and construction industries.”

The measure has the support of wood and timber advocates, including the Montana Wood Products Association, the American Wood Council and Weyerhauser.

Julia Altemus, executive director of the Montana Wood Products Association, said the bill would create jobs and extend the market for timber products.

“Building 85-foot high commercial structures, with cross-laminated timber and associated products, sequesters more carbon for decades to come,” said Altemus. “This bill will pave the way for new performance-driven research and will likely be a real game changer for the timber industry.”