(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02), applauded the announcement that the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. and the Northern Forest Center in Concord, will receive $3 million through an award provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce to bolster wood product markets in New England. This federal funding will be allocated through the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) in coordination with the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). This announcement follows efforts from Senator Shaheen who, as lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, included language to appropriate federal resources that provide support for communities impacted by forest product closures.
“Empowering our state agencies and the Northern Border Regional Commission with the federal support they need to help Granite State communities impacted by forest closures is a critical issue in New Hampshire, which is why I worked across the aisle to address this concern in the appropriations process,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m glad to see this federal support delivered to New Hampshire and I’ll continue work with both Republicans and Democrats to boost funding for the NBRC and ensure our state gets the federal assistance it needs to help the wood product and forest industries invest in their workforces and expand economic opportunities throughout New Hampshire.”
"The wood product industry is critical to supporting job creation and boosting our state's economy, and this federal grant will play a vital role in helping to expand markets for these products," said Senator Hassan. "This collaboration between the Northern Border Regional Commission and other federal partners is a great example of the type of innovative partnerships we should be pursuing across industries in order to help support innovative businesses and expand economic opportunity."
“I am pleased that the Economic Development Administration has awarded a $3 million grant to the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “This important funding will support a partnership with the Northern Border Regional Commission to promote and grow the wood product industry, which generates jobs and economic growth across our state. These partnerships are evidence of how important the Regional Commission is to our state’s economy.”
“The wood products and forestry industries are critical components of the economy in New Hampshire,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “This grant will help expand and bolster these industries that have a rich tradition particularly in the rural parts of our state. I’m pleased by this announcement and I will continue my efforts to expand economic opportunity throughout the Granite State.”
Rob Riley, President of the Northern Forest Center added, “We’re very pleased to be working with our partners at the EDA to develop markets for wood products from the Northern Forest. As the national economy improves, we want to ensure our regional forest-based economy is healthy and resilient, providing quality jobs and employment opportunities, which requires continued business innovation that this award will help us to advance.”
Specifically, the funding will be used to assess the supply and demand for wood products, develop a strategy for expanding their markets and provide funding through additional grants for projects that support the growth of the wood product industry.
Senator Shaheen has long advocated for the NBRC, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has repeatedly fought to secure its funding. Just last week, Shaheen helped secure $20 million to fund the NBRC for FY 2019, which is $5 million above the FY 2018 funding level. In the same bill, Shaheen also successfully added a provision that directs additional funding to the NBRC to be used to address the needs of rural communities impacted by forest product plant closures. In May, Senator Shaheen introduced legislation to extend the authorization of the NBRC for five years and to expand its reach to include additional counties in New Hampshire.