During the 2013 Legislative Session, ACTrees will advocate on behalf of:
- USDA Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry Program
- Reauthorization of the Farm Bill
- The TREES Act
- Engaging fellow stakeholders for the “Vibrant Cities Urban Forests” 12 Recommendations
New legislation may arise during the course of the year. Green infrastructure for wet weather management, urban revitalization, jobs, and energy savings will continue to be key drivers. Subscribe to the ACTrees newsletter to receive “Action Alerts” about new advocacy issues.
1. FY2014 Budget Recommendations
ACTrees recommends FY14 funding for the US Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program be allocated at no less than FY12 enacted levels of $31.3 million. Urban forests are vital to creating and maintaining healthy, livable communities of all sizes, and provide quantifiable ecosystem benefits to over 93% of U.S. residents who live in micro– and metropolitan areas. In FY12, the U&CF Program delivered technical, financial, educational, and research assistance to 7,499 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and affiliated Pacific Island nations.
In addition, ACTrees supports federal investment in the following programs through Congress’s annual appropriations process:
- USDA Forest Service Forest Health Management Program — ACTrees recommends FY14 funding be allocated at no less than FY12 funding levels of $112 million.
- USDA Early Plant Detection Program — This program helps protect our forests from plant pests and diseases.
- Urban Natural Resources Research through US Forest Service Research and Development — This includes implementing Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) in urban areas.
- EPA’s Urban Waters Federal Partnership — ACTrees recommends appropriating FY14 funding at no less than FY12 levels for this 13-agency initiative led by the Environmental Protection Agency.
ACTrees joined partners in the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition to voice concern to policymakers over recommendations by the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee that would exclude or eliminate funding for the U&CF Program next year to help curb budgets. ACTrees signed on to a letter opposing this House recommendation and will participate in ongoing Hill activities to ensure strong funding for the U&CF Program in FY 2014.
2. Farm Bill Re-Authorization
In partnership with the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition, ACTrees support for Farm Bill Re-Authorization calls for no new programs or increased funding levels; encourages and facilitates interagency coordination to protect urban forest health; addresses issues at the landscape level and promote urban trees and forests as green infrastructure; and supports local initiatives, minimizing overall costs and maximizing impacts for every dollar invested. ACTrees will continue to track the Farm Bill and prepare to engage in policy debate should Congress take action on the bill. It appears that the Farm Bill may be extended beyond FY2013 in its current form.
3. TREES Act
ACTrees supports The Residential Energy and Economic Savings Act (TREES Act, HR 1807), which was re-introduced on Arbor Day 2013 by Representative Doris Matsui of California. The TREES Act authorizes a Department of Energy grant program to assist retail power providers with the establishment or continuation of residential tree planting programs. The purpose of the program is to help residents plant trees in strategic locations to help reduce energy demand, sequester carbon, and reduce stormwater runoff and soil erosion. ACTrees will work with partners to help advance the TREES Act toward passage in the House and Senate this session.
4. Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests
With over 90% of Americans living in metropolitan areas, ACTrees supports the vision and recommendations of the Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests project. These 12 recommendations lay the groundwork on how we can approach creating and sustaining vibrant cities through an integrative approach.
5. America’s Great Outdoors
The America’s Great Outdoors listening sessions engaged over 10,000 citizens in feedback to help set a 21st Century Conservation Agenda for our nation. With over 90% of Americans living in metropolitan areas, the critical and rising importance of urban natural resources — urban parks, green spaces and trees — came through loud and clear. ACTrees supports the America’s Great Outdoors goal to “create and enhance a new generation of safe, clean, accessible parks and community green spaces” through strategic urban initiatives.
Make Your Voice Heard
Contact your elected officials in Congress NOW to let them know that these programs and initiatives are important to YOU and make a difference for healthier, more livable communities IN YOUR DISTRICT and nationwide.