Congressman Jerry Carl, R-Alabama, announced that he is cosponsoring the bipartisan Disaster Reforestation Act of 2021. The bipartisan legislation would help timber growers recover from timber loss caused by natural disasters.
“South Alabama is home to more than 500,000 acres of privately-owned forests, which support 2,000 jobs in the district, so it is critical we amend the tax code to help Alabama’s private forest owners recover and reforest after natural disasters,” Carl said. “Working forests create good-paying, sustainable jobs, which are necessary for a stable lumber market and create a natural solution to protect our environment. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important legislation.”
The Disaster Reforestation Act of 2021 would let private forest owners deduct the value of destroyed timber on their taxes after a natural disaster such as hurricanes and tornadoes while making it easier for timber owners to recover and reforest after a natural disaster. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, and Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia, last month.
“Alabama’s beautiful forests keep our economy, our environment, and our people healthy,” Sewell said. “But when disaster strikes, our private forest owners are often left devastated and without the ability to quickly recover. By fixing our tax code, the Disaster Reforestation Act offers a helping hand to Alabama’s private forest owners as they work to reforest after natural disasters. I am so proud to introduce this legislation and urge my colleagues to support it.”
“Forestry is a vital part of rural economies all across our country,” Carter, the lead Republican co-sponsor, said. “Unfortunately the current tax code provides no recourse for working forests struck by natural disasters. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Sewell and our partners from across the country to address this issue. The Disaster Reforestation Act will ensure timber farming is a viable way of life, protecting the many jobs and consumer products it supports and its positive impact to our environment.”
Alabama’s private forest owners own 21 million acres of private forestland, which are critical to the state’s economic and environmental health. Currently, Alabama’s private forests support $28 billion in economic activity and 119,000 jobs, contributing $906 million in tax revenue, and provide safe drinking water for 1.4 million Alabamians. The forestland also provides habitat for an incredible diversity of wildlife, both game and nongame species. Sewell’s office said that the forests also help combat climate change by sequestering carbon emissions and releasing oxygen.
Carl is in his first term representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. Carl was previously chairman of the Mobile County Commission. He has had a long career as a business owner in Mobile and the South Alabama area.