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Collins, Golden Announce Maine Loggers Approved for More Than $12.3 Million in COVID-19 Relief

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins and Congressman Jared Golden announced today that more than 350 Maine timber harvesting and hauling businesses have been approved for a total of $12,348,389 in COVID-19 relief.


The funding was awarded through the Pandemic Assistance to Timber Harvesters and Haulers (PATHH) program, which was created by a law Senator Collins and Representative Golden co-authored.  Last year, Senator Collins and Representative Golden introduced the Loggers Relief Act to establish the PATHH program at the USDA to provide direct payments to loggers who have been seriously impacted by the pandemic.  Their bill was co-sponsored by Senator Angus King and Representative Chellie Pingree.  Senator Collins, a lead negotiator of the COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law in December 2020, successfully secured the inclusion of the Loggers Relief Act and $200 million in funding in the final package.  Following a push led by Senator Collins and Congressman Golden, the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened the application process for the PATHH program in July. 


“Maine’s forest products industry supports good-paying jobs, drives local economies, and strengthens rural communities,” said Senator Collins.  “In addition to a changing 21st century economy, unfair trade practices, the explosion at the Jay mill, and the shutdown of the #9 paper machine and biomass boiler at Sappi in Westbrook, the pandemic made 2020 an extremely challenging year for our forest products industry.  That is why I worked with Congressman Golden to secure $200 million for loggers and timber haulers in the COVID-19 relief package last December.  I am pleased that, following our advocacy, this much-needed support is finally being disbursed to Maine family logging and log hauling businesses.”


“Maine loggers deserve the same kind of support during tough times that farmers and fishermen receive. And there’s no doubt the last two years have been tough on this industry,” said Congressman Golden. “I’m glad that Maine loggers and log haulers are finally starting to get the relief dollars they applied for to replace revenue lost during the pandemic. Senator Collins and I worked together to write the legislation to create this program and get the funding signed into law, and I’ll continue to work with the Department of Agriculture to follow through and make sure the program delivers a real benefit to Maine loggers.”


“In the past two years, Maine's logging industry has faced unprecedented challenges that threatened the survival of hundreds of small family logging and trucking businesses in our rural economy.  Without the funding provided by PATHH through the efforts of Senator Collins and Congressman Golden with the support of Senator Angus King and U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, there is no doubt fewer of these businesses would still be operating today," Dana Doran, Executive Director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, said. "Timber harvesters and haulers for the first time were able to access relief funds designated specifically for their industry rather than being left behind, and we thank Sen. Collins and Congressman Golden for leading the effort to secure those funds.”


Paper mills drastically slashed output or shut down their operations altogether during the pandemic – which the American Loggers Council estimates caused a reduction of $1.83 billion (or 13 percent) in the value of logger-delivered wood. 


Timber harvesting and hauling businesses were eligible to apply for the $200 million available in relief funding through the PATHH program if they experienced at least a 10 percent loss in revenue from January 1, 2020, through December 2020, as compared to the same timeframe in 2019. These direct payments will be equal to 10 percent of their gross revenue from 2019, with the funds to be used for operating expenses, including payroll. 


The PATHH program proved to be extremely popular among the industry and was significantly oversubscribed.  Additional federal funding is needed to cover all of the eligible losses by applicants.


Maine’s logging industry is a linchpin of the state’s economy, generating an estimated $619 million in economic output and providing $342 million in income to around 9,000 Mainers, most of whom live in rural communities. 




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