Washington, DC (March 29, 2007)- The House of Representatives approved H.Con.Res. 99, the House Budget Resolution, by a vote of 216 to 210. The Resolution, which presents a total federal budget of $2.9 trillion, provided for an increase of $2.6 billion over the President’s budget for Natural Resources (known as Function 300), which includes programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund (federal and state-side), the Forest Legacy Program, the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
The House Budget Resolution is a recommendation to the full House Appropriations Committee which will now decide how to allocate funds to each Appropriations Subcommittee. Hopefully, this will mean that the Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will receive a significant increase.
In the meantime, Congress continues to hold hearings on specific program proposals in preparation for the FY 2008 appropriations bills that are supposed to be completed by the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30, 2007.
For further information on Congressional hearings, check the House and Senate Appropriations Committee websites, as well as those of the authorizing committees, including the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
What this Means for U&CF
Urban and Community Forestry is one small program among many valuable land conservation and stewardship programs funded by the Interior and Environment Subcommittee. It is important that urban forestry practitioners speak out to let elected officials know the value and purpose of the U&CF Program. Many other land programs, such as Forest Legacy, have very active advocacy support. Programs that have a voice get more money — U&CF partners need to let their voices be heard this year.
Actions You Can Take
1) Fax your Congressman and Senators
2) Set up a meeting or field tour for local district staff
3) Share the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition budget recommendations with your elected officials
4) Submit written testimony from your organization to the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee by April 19
Template Letter for Individuals
Template Letter for Organizations
Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition Recommendations
House Testimony Submission Link