20 Apr BPC Action Applauds Reintroduction of the Trillion Trees Act in Energy and Environment
The following is a statement from BPC Action on the Trillion Trees Act, introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR).
The Trillion Trees Act is a great step in conserving and restoring our nation’s forests and those around the globe. We are glad to see robust congressional support for innovative policies that advance conservation and ecological restoration while bolstering rural economies. The bill aligns with many priorities of BPC’s Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Initiative to improve terrestrial carbon sequestration and provide economic opportunities for rural landowners.
The Trillion Trees Act will boost natural carbon sequestration through reforestation, improved forest management, and market incentives. The bill prioritizes carbon benefits by directing the Secretary of Agriculture to set national forest carbon stock targets, adding carbon storage to the Forest Inventory and Analysis program, and adding carbon sequestration as a goal to several state and private forest management programs including the Forest Stewardship Program.
We commend Rep. Westerman for addressing current barriers to reforestation through this bill which raises the cap on the Reforestation Trust Fund to $180 million to meet the Forest Service’s reforestation backlog and creates a new $1 billion loan program to address nursery capacity and infrastructure needs. It also establishes a Trillion Trees Challenge Fund and authorizes $10 million for the Fund to provide competitive matching grants to State, Tribal, and local governments as well as other non-Federal entities to conduct reforestation activities.
Achieving wide-scale forest restoration and reforestation will require a significant workforce trained in conservation activities. The Trillion Trees Act will support forestry education and workforce development through land-grant universities and the Civilian Conservation Centers. Although many of these economic benefits will be realized in rural communities, the bill also allows for the establishment of Civilian Conservation Centers in urban areas to facilitate urban reforestation.
America’s forests already sequester approximately 12% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Advancing bills such as the Trillion Trees Act could help maintain, and even augment, this critical carbon sink. We believe that legislation which recognizes both the climate and economic benefits of our forests can inform the bipartisan debate and garner support from both sides of the aisle.