Letter to Congress in Support of the FOREST Act, May 23, 2022
May 23, 2022
United States Congress
Washington, DC 20510
We write in support of the FOREST Act of 2021 (S. 2950, H.R. 5508). This bipartisan bill will regulate U.S. imports of goods typically connected to deforestation, such as soy, cocoa, and palm oil, enforcing greater transparency and accountability in global markets. The FOREST Act represents an opportunity for the United States to mitigate the harmful impact of forest loss worldwide and to encourage a more ethical and sustainable global commodity market.
Deforestation is a major contributor both to climate change and biodiversity loss. Certain items found in countless consumer products such as palm oil, soy, beef, wood fiber, cocoa, and rubber are major drivers of deforestation worldwide. The FOREST Act will prevent the import of these commodities and their derivative products from accessing U.S. markets if they originate from illegally deforested lands, removing incentives for governments and companies to continue illegal deforestation. Additionally, the bill enables the United States to develop “action plans” with other nations to help them protect against illegal deforestation so that trade partnerships may continue.
As Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical on ecology Laudato si’, “caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness … the cost of the damage caused by [a] lack of concern is much greater than the economic benefits to be obtained” (no. 36). The FOREST Act is an example of legislation that takes a far-sighted and integral view of global commerce that includes the responsibility to care for forests and ecosystems around the world. Thank you for your continued work to care for the environment, our common home.
Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Chair, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
Bishop David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace