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Wittman Speaks on Trillion Trees Initiative

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Washington, March 12, 2020 | comments

WASHINGTON – This week, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) spoke at a press conference on H.R. 5859, the Trillion Trees Act. U.S. Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) and Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) and U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) also attended the event.

“Everyone can agree that, in order to be good stewards of our environment, we need to work to reduce carbon,” Wittman said. This Trillion Trees Initiative is a forward-thinking approach that works with the private sector to reduce carbon across the planet to protect our environment. These are the types of solutions that deliver real results for the American people and I am excited to join my colleagues on this initiative to make it a reality.” 

“Experts say planting one trillion trees could eliminate two-thirds of the amount of man-made carbon since the Industrial Revolution,” McCarthy said. “Bruce’s bill is a seriously ambitious and actionable plan to achieve cleaner air. It doesn’t demonize or punish American industries or workers like the Democrats’ plans do. Instead, it gives every American community the chance to be a part of the solution.”

“We’re at a point in our history where we need an aggressive response to environmental concerns,” Westerman said. “The Trillion Trees Act is just that solution. It’s a bipartisan bill that reaches across the aisle to give us a starting point, a place to come to the table and negotiate on long-term climate solutions. Planting a tree is something every American can get behind, and the support from so many of my colleagues today showed just how important this legislation is. I’d like to thank all the members and outside groups who have supported the Trillion Trees Act – let’s put conservatives back into conservation!”

“Trees are one of the largest, most efficient ways to sequester carbon, capturing it from the atmosphere and transforming it into roots, bark, and branches while simultaneously filtering pollutants and emitting pure oxygen,” Marshall said. “In addition to carbon sequestration, trees play an important role in farming and ranching operations across Kansas, as well as in flood prevention and mitigation efforts. I’m a strong believer in working toward solutions rather than just talking about a problem, and planting trees is an easy and effective for all Americans to help remove carbon from the atmosphere.”

“The United States is leading the world in carbon emission reduction,” Newhouse said. “Our efforts to reduce emissions and prevent wildfires start with healthy forests, and healthy forests start with healthy trees. The Trillion Trees Act is a commonsense solution to encourage environmental stewardship, reduce carbon emissions, and create jobs. I am proud to support this legislation to revitalize rural communities across the West and help restore our public lands to their natural health.”

“Our country needs sensible solutions for cleaning up the environment, and big government proposals that hurt our free market economy are not the answer,” Burchett said. “Carbon is food for trees, anyone in our scientific community will tell you that, and more trees means less carbon in our atmosphere. The Trillion Trees Act reduces atmospheric carbon and creates quality jobs, a true win for conservation and the American economy.”

“The Trillion Trees Act is an easy win for the environment,” Higgins said. “This initiative helps reduce carbon emissions and promotes conservation efforts in a responsible manner. Weaponizing the federal government against private industry is not the answer to environmental concerns. We must seek policies that encourage greater innovation and partnership with industry. The Trillion Trees Act is reflective of that spirit and will benefit both our economy and the environment.”

“In my district back in Oregon, wildfires pose a large threat to our communities, our forests, and our environment,” Walden said. “I’ve long called for improved federal forest management to help minimize the threat of these wildfires. When fires do occur, we should get in and remove the burned, dead trees and replant our forests for future generations. I am proud to join Bruce Westerman, Leader McCarthy, and my many other colleagues in supporting this important legislation. I’m hopeful we can move this idea forward to improve the management of our forests and reduce the risk of wildfire.”

“The Trillion Trees Act will help our nation reverse the catastrophic effects of deforestation, prevent horrific wildfires, sustain critical resources and ecosystems, and reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere,” Joyce said. “I was proud to join my friend and colleague Rep. Bruce Westerman in introducing this important bill and I urge the House to act quickly on it.”

“In the First Congressional District of Georgia, climate change is a reality,” Carter said. “Representing all 110 miles of pristine Georgia coastline, many of my constituents are on the front lines of the issue. That is why I take my position on the Select Committee on Climate Change very seriously. One important solution we should be focused on to address climate change is right in our own backyards - trees. In Georgia, we are working every day to make a significant impact on bringing down carbon emissions with forestry. Georgia is the number one forestry state in the United States and our forestlands are the lungs of our nation. The entire country should come together in this mission that will make our air cleaner and our world greener.” 

Background

The Trillion Trees Act is based on a July 2019 Swiss report, featured by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, that concluded planting 1 trillion trees across the world could sequester 205 gigatonnes of carbon. That’s roughly the equivalent of two-thirds of all manmade carbon since the Industrial Revolution.

The bill has three parts:

  • Plant more trees in urban areas and on marginal agriculture land domestically while offering technical support and assistance for other countries to maximize forest growth internationally and reverse deforestation.
  • Grow more wood in existing forests and make them more resilient to insects, diseases and catastrophic wildfires.
  • Store more carbon by incentivizing innovative building practices with a sustainable building tax credit.

To read the full bill text, click here.

To watch the full press conference, click here.

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