The Department of State (the State Department) recently announced that it is seeking public comments related to the Biden-Harris administration's Executive Order (EO) on Strengthening the Nation's Forests, Communities, and Local Economies(1) until 2 December 2022. The EO directs the State Department, in consultation with other agencies, to produce a report by 22 April 2023 that recommends methods to combat international deforestation. Although general comments are welcome, the State Department has provided a list of questions to guide companies' responses available via the Federal Register's public notice.(2) Companies involved in the lumber and agricultural industries or related supply chains are especially advised to submit comments.

Public comments and the subsequent State Department report will be used to inform the Biden-Harris administration's policies on forest conservation. President Biden's Plan to Conserve Global Forests: Critical Carbon Sinks set the goals of ending natural forest loss, restoring at least an additional 200 million hectares of vital ecosystems, and showcasing new economic models conducive to the services provided by critical worldwide ecosystems by 2030. These goals emphasise how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by enhancing peatland and forest ecosystems in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia and using the Lacey Act(3) to combat illegal logging and the trade of illegally sourced wood. With these targets in mind, the State Department is requesting feedback in these key areas:

Companies interested in providing input to the Biden-Harris administration should send comments in PDF form or as a Word attachment in an email to [email protected] by 2 December 2022.

For further information on this topic please contact Kenneth Markowitz at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP by telephone (+1 202 887 4000) or email ([email protected]). The Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP website can be accessed at

Kerry Mackenzie, public policy specialist, assisted with the preparation of this article.


(1) EO 14072.

(2) 87 Federal Register 63142.

(3) 16 US Code 3371-3378.