Alphabet Soup

In the forest products industry and beyond, there are a lot of acronyms that we see used over and over again. We use them to save space, talk quickly about a subject, or simply because we know what they mean, but not what they stand for. Below is a small list of acronyms that are seen most often and what they stand for:

CAR– Corrective Action Report

CARBCalifornia Air Resources Board

COB– Close of Business

COC or CoC– Chain of Custody

CWP– Composite Wood Product

ASTMAmerican Section of the International Association for Testing Materials

EPAU.S. Environmental Protection Agency

FSCForest Stewardship Council

HWPW-CC– Hardwood Plywood Composite Core

HWPW-VC– Hardwood Plywood Veneer Core

ISOInternational Organization of Standardization

JASJapanese Agricultural Standard

SFISustainable Forestry Initiative

TPC– Third Party Certifier

TSCAToxic Substance Control Act

What acronyms do you use? Email us your acronyms to add to the list.

Formaldehyde Rule Lawsuit Filed

A lawsuit was filed on Halloween (31 October 2017) by the Sierra Club and A Community Voice, represented by Earthjustice, against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the delay in implementing the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Title VI for formaldehyde in composite wood products. The suit alleges that the EPA is unlawfully delaying the implementation of the rules.


You can read the court filing here.

EPA Updates Voluntary Consensus Standards in the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Rule

From the EPA:

EPA is publishing a direct final rule to update several voluntary consensus standards listed at 40 CFR § 770.99 and incorporated by reference in the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products rule.

These updates apply to emission testing methods and regulated composite wood product construction characteristics. Several of those voluntary consensus standards (i.e. technical specifications for products or processes developed by standards-setting bodies) were updated, withdrawn, and/or superseded through the normal course of business by these various bodies to take into account new information, technology, and methodology.

Additionally, this direct final rule corrects the rule at 40 CFR § 770.20(b) by allowing the formaldehyde emissions mill quality control test methods to correlate to either the ASTM E1333-14 test method or, upon a showing of equivalence, the ASTM D6007-14 test method. This correlation was inadvertently omitted from the original final rule. The correction aligns the mill quality control testing requirements with the California Air Resources Board standards allowing mill quality control tests to be correlated to the less expensive ASTM D6007-14 test method.

In the event that EPA receives an adverse comment on the direct final rule and must publish a proposal, EPA also published a companion notice of proposed rule making to update the voluntary consensus standards. If EPA receives no adverse comment on the direct final rule or proposed rule, then the Agency will take no further action on the proposed rule and the direct final rule will become effective 45 days after publication of the direct final rule. If EPA receives relevant, adverse comment, then the Agency will withdraw the direct final rule and proceed with the proposed rule through the normal rulemaking process.

Read the direct final rule to update the voluntary consensus standards which is up for public inspection in the Federal Register.

Also note that on September 25, 2017, EPA issued a final rule to extend the compliance dates for the December 12, 2016 final Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for Composite Wood Products Rule. Read more about this action on EPA’s website.

Visit the EPA’s formaldehyde website for additional information on TSCA Title VI final rule.

Lacey Act Implementation Plan: De Minimis Exception and Composite Articles

USDA/APHIS RIN: 0579-AD44 Publication ID: Update 2017
Title: Lacey Act Implementation Plan: De Minimis Exception and Composite Articles

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 amended the Lacey Act to provide, among other things, that importers submit a declaration at the time of importation for certain plants and plant products. The declaration requirements of the Lacey Act became effective on December 15, 2008, and enforcement of those requirements is being phased in. We are proposing an exception to the declaration requirements for products containing composite plant materials. We are also proposing to establish an exception to the declaration requirement for products containing a minimal amount of plant materials. Both of these actions would relieve the burden on importers while continuing to ensure that the declaration requirement fulfills the purposes of the Lacey Act.


Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA) Priority: Other Significant
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking:Proposed Rule Stage
Major: No Unfunded Mandates: No
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 357
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.
Legal Deadline:  None

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM 06/30/2011 76 FR 38330
ANPRM Comment Period End 08/29/2011
NPRM 08/00/2017
Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No Government Levels Affected: None
Federalism: No
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No
Agency Contact:
Parul Patel
Senior Agriculturalist, Permitting and Compliance Coordination, PPQ
Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
4700 River Road, Unit 60,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
Phone:301 851-2351

Benchmark International to Attend and Participate in Forest Legality Week

David Jones from Benchmark International will be at Forest Legality Week in Washington D.C. learning more about updates concerning forest legality and changes in regulatory landscape. He will also be participating in a panel on Private Sector Experiences in Implementing Due Care Practices.

Trees, More Than the Forest They Make (Part 2)


The structure of the wood cells found inside of a tree are known as wood anatomy. Once the tree has been cut down and processed into a forest product like lumber or veneer, we can look at that structure and both identify what species of tree the wood came from and what the wood can be used for in our lives.

Different structures in the wood perform different functions inside of the tree. Some cells move water from the ground up to the crown (leaves), others move water from the center of the tree towards the outside edges; still other produce or store materials for the tree. Each of these cells cause the wood to have a different appearance when cut into lumber.

Here are some examples of different woods:


red oak






As you can see there are similarities between each wood, but there are definitely more differences. These are part of what makes each wood different and also part of why and how trees of different species grow in different places. Next time we will dig a little deeper into what each structure is and the function.

(To be continued)