The Loggers Relief Act, which was co-authored by Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic U.S. Representative Jared Golden, also of Maine, is making $200 million available for logging businesses that have suffered losses to due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will be run by the U.S Department of Agriculture, and applications are being accepted until October. Loggers and timber truckers who lost 10% or more of their revenue in 2020 compared to 2019 qualify for a cash payment ranging from $2,000 to $125,000. The bill co-authors — along with support from Maine Independent U.S. Senator Angus King and Democratic U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree — have pressed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expedite the funding.
In speaking about the bill Sen. Collins said, “This much-needed support for Maine’s family logging and log hauling businesses is now on the way.” There are more than 600 logging and timber trucking businesses in Maine, and they sustain 9,000 jobs. Rep. Golden said the program will help them survive and recover from the pandemic downturn. Golden went onto say that “If we don’t have loggers to get this wood to our mills, paper mills, sawmills, and others it’s gonna cause a huge economic problem. As we struggle with workforce issues, it’s really important to keep these guys working in the woods.” Paper mills drastically slashed output or shut down their operations during the pandemic, adding to the pressures on loggers and log haulers.
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$200M available to loggers hurt by the pandemic