U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's softwood lumber checkoff, which raises money to promote the use of wood in construction, violates the law. The judge found that the threshold of 15 million board-feet, or 15 mmbf, was "arbitrary and capricious" in violation of federal administrative law. The law required companies manufacturing more than 15 mmbf of lumber per year to pay an assessment of 35 cents per 1,000 board-feet to fund the program. "Nearly every calculation upon which the agency relies has significant mismeasurements or inaccuracies, and many of the agency's explanations across its original rule-making process, its briefings and its two responses to the court's remand orders contradict one another," said Judge Boasberg. Although the judge has now ruled the checkoff program is unlawful, the future of the program is uncertain. A hearing was scheduled for June 1 "to discuss the next steps concerning the remedies sought by plaintiff."
Capital Press (05/26/16) Perkowski, Mateusz