Washington, DC (June 25, 2012)- Early last week you took action to save the Urban & Community Forestry Program from being repealed. Thanks to your calls, emails, tweets and Facebook posts, the amendment did not pass— it didn’t even receive a vote! This kind of grassroots action supports urban and community forestry efforts nationwide, benefiting all of us.
Overall, the Farm Bill passed by the Senate last week was fairly consistent with ACTrees goals for forestry in the Farm Bill. Not only was Urban & Community Forestry not repealed— it is slated to receive substantial funding that is appropriate for a national program that provides support to over 7,000 communities in every state and territory of the country, reaching 60% of the US population. Many other amendments that would have repealed additional forestry programs did not come to pass, but a few did: the authorities for the Watershed Forestry Assistance Program and several other cooperative forestry activities were eliminated.
These changes come in a difficult budget climate that necessitated tough choices. Overall changes in the Senate-approved Farm Bill are estimated to cut the deficit by almost $24 billion. The House of Representatives now has to write and approve its own version of the Farm Bill, which is expected to look quite different from the Senate bill. The House is expected to demand deeper cuts, meaning your voice may be needed again to preserve the Urban & Community Forestry Program— perhaps later this summer, but possibly later in the year, depending on when the House proceeds. Eventually, the House and Senate versions will be reconciled, and a final version of the 2012 Farm Bill will require the President’s signature before becoming law.
ACTrees is committed to keeping you updated on policy matters in Washington that impact the work you do in your town— and we look forward to your active participation in telling Congress to protect programs that matter to you!
National Association of State Foresters- Senate adopts 2012 Farm Bill
The New York Times- Senate Passes Farm Bill, but Tougher Road Seen in House
Save Urban & Community Forestry Program from Being Repealed!
ACTrees Advocacy Agenda – Farm Bill Re-Authorization
2012 Farm Bill Re-Authorization Recommendations Webcast