Building relationships with federal, state, and local government representatives and their staff enables us to engage on issues that are important to our business and to influence policy through education and advocacy.
PotlatchDeltic’s business can be impacted by federal, state, and local public policy. Our Public Affairs team works with management to actively engage in the political process through public policy and legislative advocacy on issues that have the potential to impact our company and our industry.
We interact with national, state, and local elected officials and their staff through meetings. We often work together with industry associations or coalitions in these efforts to highlight issues of importance. Our involvement can range from writing letters in support of or opposition to legislation, educating legislators and their staff on an issue, or participating in rulemaking regarding proposed regulatory changes. We are committed to conducting these activities in an accountable and transparent manner.
Political contributions are one of the important ways we engage in the political process, and we take steps to comply with all laws and regulations regarding contributions. U.S. federal contributions are managed through the nonpartisan PotlatchDeltic political action committee (PAC), which is compliant with all applicable laws and is regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
PotlatchDeltic PAC disbursements are made to candidates based on several factors that include: whether the candidates are running in states or districts where we have employees, assets, or business interests; whether the candidates are in a leadership position in areas that directly affect our business; and whether the candidates have indicated their support for issues of importance to us. Our PotlatchDeltic PAC Charter establishes our PAC guidelines. The PotlatchDeltic PAC Steering Committee oversees the contribution plan and monitors that the candidates receiving contributions continue to meet our PAC disbursement criteria.
PotlatchDeltic makes corporate contributions U.S. state and local candidates in states where contributions are permitted. In addition, corporate contributions are made to several state association PACs for state and local contributions. We typically do not make payments to influence ballot issues, unless the issues are directly tied to the Company’s core values and business interests.
We engaged on several topics including softwood lumber trade, visas for H2-B workers, wildlife, and climate-related opportunities. We also continue to work towards solutions on issues related to wildfire, tax matters, and carbon neutrality of biomass, and continue to oppose anti-wood legislation.
PotlatchDeltic works within several national or state industry associations to direct lobbying outreach and participates in several coalitions and advisory boards. The topics we have been engaged in vary from state issues to broader national matters. Some issues are resolved in a short timeframe while others can evolve over many years. Some of these associations may have interactions with federal or state government officials. Federal trade associations establish the percentage of dues attributable to lobbying activity.
The wildfire crisis has become all too evident in recent years. Decades of fire exclusion, combined with reduced management on federal lands, has led to a dangerous accumulation of natural fuels that create ladders which enable fires to reach the crowns of trees. A drier weather cycle in some regions has further exacerbated fire conditions. Adding to the complexity of the wildfire challenge is the growing wildland urban interface, which increases the risk to people and homes.
In the West, land ownership is often a checkerboard of ownership that includes federal, state, county, and a wide range of private forest owners. This creates unique challenges in firefighting coordination and response. One measure identified to address the crisis was a change of approach in firefighting by enabling the use of a broader range of resources. Throughout 2022, we worked with the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) on dialogue with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) regarding opportunities to enhance wildfire response capabilities.
Through NAFO, we worked on a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which was signed by early 2023, creating a partnership to enhance cooperation between private working forest owners and public land managers during wildfires. The partnership between USFS and NAFO members allows private resources to fight fires in areas of adjacent ownership with National Forest System lands. The MOU is a first-of-its-kind firefighting partnership.
The partnership increases the personnel, equipment, and tools USFS can deploy to manage fires. Forester and logging contractors can work alongside federal, state, and local firefighting crews to establish fire breaks, reduce vegetation, fight fires, and provide local knowledge and experience to mitigate risks.