Tuberville Denounces Biden Regulation Threatening AL Paper Industry

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined his colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai, expressing concern with a regulation that could negatively impact U.S. paper and pulp producers. The regulation, called the European Union’s Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR), would impose costly reporting requirements for American companies in the forest products industry that export to the European Union (EU) and serve as a barrier to international business.

The U.S. industry affected by the EUDR is considerable. The U.S. forest products industry directly employs more than 920,000 Americans and indirectly supports more than 2 million jobs. Senator Tuberville is calling on the USTR to engage with their European counterparts and seek clarity on the EUDR’s traceability requirements, data reporting, and country benchmarking. Senator Tuberville is also pushing the USTR to encourage the EU to recognize the U.S. has robust regulatory standards to protect the long-term health of U.S. forests.

The forest products industry is vital for Alabama. The state is ranked third nationally in the forest products sector’s contribution to the state economy, and top ten across the U.S. for the production of lumber, pulp, paper and paperboard, and wood panels. The industry produces over $27 billion in economic output and employs over 123,000 Alabamians.

In addition to Senator Tuberville, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Angus King (I-ME), Tim Scott (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), John Boozman (R-AR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MM), Katie Britt (R-AL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Ted Budd (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), and John Cornyn (R-TX).

Read the full letter below or here.

Dear Ambassador Tai:

We write to express our concern about the potential effects of the European Union Deforestation free Regulation (EUDR) on U.S. paper and pulp producers, which becomes enforceable in 2025. We are concerned that the rule will negatively impact U.S. producers by imposing costly requirements on U.S. exporters that will limit market access for the $3.5 billion in U.S. forest derived products entering the European Union (EU) annually. We appreciate the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) attention and engagement on EUDR and urge USTR to continue to engage with the European Commission (EC), EU member states, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure that U.S. paper and pulp producers are treated fairly under these EU regulations. 

The U.S. paper and pulp industry is the global leader in sustainably managing forests and produces essential items such as baby diapers, toilet paper, boxes, packaging, and printing-writing paper. The industry collectively manufactures $350 billion worth of products, directly employs more than 920,000 Americans, and indirectly supports more than two million jobs. Protecting the long-term health and stability of U.S. forests through sustainable practices has long been a cornerstone of the industry. 

While we applaud the EU’s commitment towards reducing deforestation, the EUDR, as currently written, presents significant compliance issues due to its stringency and ambiguity. One specific concern is the traceability requirement. The EUDR imposes a geolocation traceability requirement that mandates sourcing to the individual plot of land for every shipment of timber product to the EU. In the U.S., 42 percent of the wood fiber used by pulp and paper mills comes from wood chips, forest residuals, and sawmill manufacturing residues – wood sources that cannot be traced back to an individual forest plot. The EUDR traceability requirement will be nearly impossible for a significant segment of the U.S. paper and pulp industry to comply with. 

Additionally, the EUDR imposes a concerning requirement that for all timber and timber-derived products entering the EU, the originating landowners be identified and their contact information be made available. This requirement risks disclosure of confidential information between business partners and could disrupt long-standing landowner-producer relationships. Additionally, it is concerning that the regulation does not identify who would have access to this proprietary data or how the data would be used for enforcement. 

Proper stewardship has led to an American ecosystem of forests that are healthy and growing. According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than one billion trees are planted each year in the United States and total forest area increased by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020. That is why we urge USTR to engage with their EU counterparts to ensure that EUDR implementation focuses on countries in which illegal deforestation is occurring.

As USTR continues to engage with European regulators, we urge the agency to seek clarity on the EUDR’s traceability requirements, data reporting, and country benchmarking. We ask that USTR encourage the EU to recognize that the United States has robust regulatory standards to protect the long-term health of U.S. forests. This will help American paper and pulp producers achieve compliance under these new standards and ensure that the United States and the European Union can maintain its mutually beneficial trade relationship in paper and pulp products.

We appreciate your attention to this matter and for your consideration of these concerns. We ask that you keep Congress apprised of relevant developments as they occur.


EUDR requires that companies who import into the EU prove that products do not originate from deforested land or have contributed to forest degradation after 2020. All companies must comply by December 31, 2024. Pulp and paper and packaging producers are deeply concerned that the regulation would create severe compliance challenges, disrupt sustainable supply chains, put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage, and impose unwarranted and costly requirements for doing business with the EU. 

Three areas of primary concern:

  1. Traceability requirements – The EUDR geolocation traceability requirements to the individual plot of land of every shipment to the EU create significant, near impossible new reporting burdens, which does not recognize the complex fiber flows and fiber blending that occurs prior to production.
  2. Vague definition of “forest degradation” – would prevent current sustainable forest best practices which are verified by the most widely accepted third-party certification standards. The EU definition is vague, subject to interpretation, and was developed without international stakeholder input or acceptance of FAO definitions.
  3. “Low-risk” benchmarking process – The U.S. should be benchmarked as a “low-risk” based on our robust laws, regulations, and sustainable forestry management practices. We consider that the risk that pulp and paper products placed on the EU market are not meeting the deforestation-free and legality requirements is virtually negligible.

In addition to conducting oversight over USTR, Senator Tuberville is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind a new rule tightening National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standards. The burdensome new rule would force approximately 40% of the United States into nonattainment and severely burden the forests and manufacturing industries.

In February, Senator Tuberville led 31 of his Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter encouraging the EPA from rescinding the rule. Following the letter, in March, Senator Tuberville joined Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to introduce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to prevent the EPA from enforcing the new NAAQS rule. 

Last year, Senator Tuberville joined many of his Southern colleagues in cosponsoring the Disaster Reforestation Act (S. 217) to help forest landowners recover from natural disasters. The bill would amend the tax code to recognize the value of destroyed timber, reducing the financial burden on private forest owners.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.