Westerman Hosts Trillion Trees Press Conference

March 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) hosted a press conference on H.R. 5859, the Trillion Trees Act. U.S. Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Rob Wittman (R-Va.), 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.

“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!”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.” 

“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.” 

"This is a great initiative. By enhancing biodiversity, habitat, and natural security, we can fight carbon pollution and build a bridge to a sustainable future," Fortenberry said. "The world has experienced a massive amount of deforestation and grassland loss. I look forward to working with my colleagues to thread this bill’s conservation ethic of tree-planting throughout our foreign assistance programs."

 Stakeholder Support

“Congressman Westerman has given Congress a unique opportunity to take a needed, pragmatic step to reduce carbon emissions on federal lands. Passage of the Trillion Trees Act will provide the nation with aggressive, sustainable forest management goals that will benefit the country and the world for generations to come. In addition, the provisions of the bill that would elevate the use of carbon neutral forest bioenergy through new policies for using forest biomass will encourage private investment and growth throughout that important supply chain. Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) supports the Trillion Trees Act and is grateful to Congressman Westerman for his expertise and leadership on this vital issue.” – Heather Reams, executive director, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions

“Forest and grasslands restoration are critically important for human livelihoods and health, carbon sequestration, water quantity and quality, soil, food & agriculture, industry, and biodiversity. To make this effort successful, we recommend that all U.S. government agencies that provide assistance in the developing world include forest and grasslands restoration in all project planning and budgeting. I also encourage these agencies to reach out to other donor nations to leverage U.S. investment. I look forward to being active personally on this issue, alongside many Democratic and Republican friends in the House and Senate and many corporate, NGO, and institutional partners.” ­ David Barron, founder, International Conservation Caucus Foundation

“The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) appreciates the leadership of Representative Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) in introducing the Trillion Trees Act (HR 5859) and recognizing forests and forest markets as environmental and economic solutions. Trees built America and are a strategic natural resource for meeting future challenges. Forests, forest management, and forest markets all should be part of any proposed climate change solution. Most (nearly two-thirds) of America’s forests are privately owned. Private landowners need economic incentives to retain forestland, and they need access to professional expertise to manage and protect their forests. Public land managers need all available tools to actively manage forests and address threats that cross boundaries. NASF looks forward to continuing to work with Rep. Westerman and other congressional leaders in developing bipartisan solutions that help state foresters enhance public benefits from all forests.” – National Association of State Foresters

“The Forest Resources Association would like to thank Congressman Westerman for his effort to promote trees and forest management as a solution to combat climate change. The legislation recognizes that healthy, well-managed forests act like sponges to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and that products made from trees continue to store carbon for many years. As an association whose members represent the entire fiber supply chain, we appreciate the innovation of the legislation to provide incentives to establish new forest-based products, plant more trees, and grow more wood.” – Deb Hawkinson, president, Forest Resource Association

“The American Wood Council thanks Congressman Westerman for his recognition that strong markets for wood products give landowners incentive to keep lands forested. There is growing acknowledgment that using wood products from responsibly managed forests, which are manufactured using carbon neutral biomass, is a part of the solution to improve the environmental performance of buildings. This is especially important because the building industry is poised to construct the equivalent of New York City every month for the next 40 years, doubling the amount of buildings we currently have on the planet.” – Robert Glowinski, president and CEO, American Wood Council

“We thank Congressman Westerman and his cosponsors for their continued efforts to advance policy which will promote active forest management across this country. Well-managed forests are essential for fire protection, improved water quality, and wildlife habitat, and contribute to the well-being of local, rural economies. This bill also sends a strong message that well-managed forests are a ready resource for carbon capture and sequestration which can help us to mitigate a changing climate.”  - Becky Humphries, CEO, National Wild Turkey Federation

 

“Sustainable forestry is a core value among AF&PA members. Our country boasts 20 percent more trees than it did on the first Earth Day celebration nearly 50 years ago, and the U.S. paper and wood products industry plays an important role in helping keep forests as forests. Efforts to plant more trees are an important piece of a complex puzzle. This is why the paper industry has the most comprehensive set of quantifiable sustainability goals of any U.S. manufacturing industry in our Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 initiative. With goals centered around increasing the amount of certified fiber we procure, increasing paper recovery, improving energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing water use - among others - we are proud of the holistic approach our industry has adopted to ensure our resources will be available for future generations just as they are today. We look forward to reviewing the full text of Rep. Westerman’s legislation, as we all share the goal of contributing to the health of rural communities and the environment.” – Heidi Brock, president and CEO, American Forest & Paper Association

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.