The Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) US division is suing the American government for allegedly steering US$350m into timber industry-dominated forestry foundations as part of a “backroom deal”.

FSC US says the money, linked to the softwood lumber agreement which resolved a long-running dispute between the US and Canada over softwood imports, was steered into two groups – American Forest Foundation and the US Endowment for Forest and Communities.

FSC US says it works tirelessly to promote the highest standards for forest management and provide the public with an opportunity of rewarding responsible forestry through buying FSC-labeled products.

“The administration’s action is a huge setback that, if left unchecked, could significantly lower the bar for what is represented as sustainable forestry,” said FSC US president Corey Brinkema.

Conservation Northwest and the Centre for Biological Diversity have joined with FSC US to bring the legal action against the US Trade Representative, Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.