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Eliminate taxes on beetle-kill products

The smokey haze from wildfires that has been lingering over Western Slope skies for the past two weeks, is a reminder that our own beetle-kill fueled fire season is upon us.

More than 834 million trees destroyed by beetle kill are rotting in Colorado forests. Over 22% of standing trees in Colorado forests are dead.

The Mountain Pine Beetle has affected 3.4 million acres of Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pine in Colorado. The Spruce Beetle has killed 40% of Colorado’s Engelmann Spruce forests. Beetle kill has ravaged some 5.1 million acres of forest in Colorado.

Wood products created by logging store carbon.

Beetle-kill harvesters and woodworkers are using beetle-kill lumber for siding, furniture, framing lumber, cabinetry and finish molding.

In Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service charges beetle-kill harvesters $20 to remove two cords of wood. Rotting trees increase greenhouse gasses in forest ecosystems by 25%.

With more than 834 million dead trees moldering away in our forests, we need to compensate people to harvest that decaying fuel, and we need to incentivize producers to sell beetle-kill products exempt from federal taxation.

The next representative from the 3rd Congressional District needs to introduce legislation to pay people to harvest beetle-kill lumber from our forests, and to eliminate federal income taxes on products sold that are made with at least 51% beetle-kill wood. (Note, I am running for CD-3).

Language needs to be included to expedite logging road approval from the U.S. Department of Interior.

Russ Andrews