In a Mother Nature Network opinion editorial, Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell offered hearty praise for governors who have recently taken a stand for fairness in forest certification. Leavell, a Georgia resident, cited Peach State Gov. Nathan Deal’s recent executive order that future state building projects are required to “recognize all forest certifications equally” for inspiring the musician’s wonkish praise.
One can hardly blame him for commending Deal for such an action. The move spelled the end of Georgia’s adherence to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in regards to green building standards. LEED only recognizes one form of certification, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and is promoting monopoly in an area that should be ripe for domestic competition.
Less than a quarter of all American timberland is FSC certified, and that number shrivels to an even dimmer one percent in Georgia alone. Pair that with the fact that 24 of the state’s 37 million acres are timberland fit for commercial use, and the government forced exclusion of competition becomes a picture all too clear. Governor Deal’s executive order has now opened the doors to lands certified by standards “like Sustainable Forestry Initiative and American Tree Farm System” and will result in better utilization of resources native to Georgia.