Representatives Doris Matsui (CA), John Sarbanes (MD), and Jeff Fortenberry (NE) have introduced The Residential Energy and Economic Savings (TREES) Act.
The TREES Act incentivizes tree-planting programs that bring down energy consumption while sequestering excess carbon that exacerbates the climate crisis. It also pays special attention to environmental justice and equity concerns by giving priority to projects in underserved and disadvantaged areas.
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) worked closely with congressional staff in drafting language for this legislation, much of which is included in the current version of the bill.
The TREES Act would:
- Create a grant program to fund tree-planting operations throughout the U.S.
- Give priority consideration to projects in under-served and disadvantaged communities.
- Recognize successful projects by naming an “Arbor City of America” annually and awarding extra funding to projects in that area.
“As experts in blending the built and natural environments, landscape architects know first-hand the advantages of planting native, adaptive trees in projects and communities across the nation,” says Wendy Miller, FASLA, president of the American Society of Landscape Architects. “We’d like to thank Rep. Matsui, Rep. Sarbanes, and Rep. Fortenberry for all their work on this. ASLA is excited to support the TREES Act and is ready to do what we can to see it become law.”
In the report, “Smart Policies for a Changing Climate,” ASLA called for a national urban and suburban tree-planting strategy to preserve and expand tree canopy. Designing and planning in concert with natural systems, including the use of native and drought-resistant trees, promotes resilience, assists in stormwater management, and provides greater long-term return on investment. The report highlights all the benefits of increasing tree canopy and provides recommendations for tree-planting strategies.