On September 29, 2022, Lyme’s CEO Jim Hourdequin testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on logging workforce development. In his submitted testimony, he described the importance of loggers to the U.S. forest products supply chain and the critical role that the industry will play in thinning and restoring western forests to prevent forest fires. He also described his own experience in logging, mechanization and productivity gains, and the shrinking and aging logging workforce over the past 30 years. Finally, he discussed impediments to recruitment into the logging industry and provided four recommendations for government policy and support.
The Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act have provided billions for wildfire risk reduction, including ambitious targets for thinning overstocked federal lands. To do this work, we will need to mobilize the logging industry, deploy mechanical thinning systems at an unprecedented scale, and utilize public-private partnerships to develop the logging workforce of the future.