International NGO Environmental Investigation Agency, EIA, accused U.S. company Lumber Liquidators in importing illegally logged timber from Russia’s Far East through Chinese intermediaries. On Wednesday the NGO has submitted its report entitled “Liquidating the Forests: Hardwood Flooring, Organized Crime, and the World's Last Siberian Tigers” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The report’s authors claim that 80% of all timber which is shipped annually from the Far East region is logged illegally. They claim that this enriches a few corrupt officials while at the same time destroying the unique and bio-diverse ecosystem of Russia’s Far East; it robs Russia from taxes in the range of dozens of millions of dollars; moreover, livelihood of 100,000 people living in the affected areas are in danger as well.
The Lacey Act has been enacted in the United States in 1900. Initially it was aimed at curbing contraband of wild animals. As of 2008 it also covers timber and wooden goods. Based on this act the EIA demands prosecuting Lumber Liquidators, claiming that this Virginia-based company is the largest American producer of hardwood floors created from rare types of wood.
Previously EIA exposed illegal logging in Madagascar. As a result of the investigation, Gibson Guitar company was forced to admit being guilty of using illegally logged wood and paid out a massive fine in an out-of-court settlement.