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Klobuchar helps introduce wood buildings bill

WASHINGTON—Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Monday helped introduce the Timber Innovation Act, bipartisan legislation designed to help accelerate research, development and construction of wood buildings in the United States.

The legislation would focus on finding innovative ways to use wood in the construction of buildings above 85 feet in height or roughly seven or more stories, a release from Klobuchar's office said.

"A new market in wood construction and research will boost job creation in northern Minnesota and across the state," Klobuchar said in a news release. "With the current construction of the T3 office building in Minneapolis, wood construction is already reaching new heights. This bill will drive the research and development needed to build on this progress."

While wood products have been an integral part of construction for centuries, most wood buildings do not exceed three to four stories in height. However, with recent developments in wood products engineering alongside other new technologies, it is now possible to expand the use of wood into larger construction projects. The T3 office building in Minneapolis, under construction now, is one of the first modern tall wood buildings to be built in the United States.

Using innovative wood products in building construction increases restoration efforts that sustain watershed health and provide important habitat for wildlife while helping to mitigate climate change through carbon storage.

This bill would incentivize investment through the National Forest Products Lab and American colleges and universities to conduct research and development on new methods for the construction of wood buildings, the release said. Additionally, the bill would support ongoing efforts at the United States Department of Agriculture to further support the use of wood products as a building material for tall buildings.

The bill is supported by Weyerhaeuser, National Wildlife Federation, the American Wood Council, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.