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Celebrating Arbor Day


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2021 -

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a virtual forum on the Trillion Trees Act, in honor of Arbor Day. Westerman issued the following statement:

"I often say that trees are an old solution to new problems. As the only licensed forester in Congress, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits that trees provide. Clean air, pure water, healthy wildlife ecosystems – we owe all this and more to healthy forests. Even though we’ve seen historic technological advancements in the past few decades, trees remain the most advanced carbon sequestration tools we have. We should be advancing trees as the natural environmental solutions that they are, which is why I’ve introduced the Trillion Trees Act. I believe we have an incredible opportunity to steward these resources well, leaving them healthier and stronger for generations to come. Today and every day, we celebrate our forests!” 

Background

The Trillion Trees Act is a responsible, pragmatic approach to tackling environmental issues and making forests healthier at home and across the globe. Studies have shown that planting 1 trillion new trees globally can sequester 205 gigatons of carbon, an amount equivalent to roughly two-thirds of the manmade carbon currently in the atmosphere. The Trillion Trees Act also addresses catastrophic wildfires and their associated carbon emissions by both streamlining reviews for critical forest management projects and by permanently reauthorizing successful programs that promote partnerships with states and expedite necessary forest management activities. Without these reforms, catastrophic wildfires will continue emitting tens of millions of metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere annually and shift our forests from being carbon sinks to carbon sources.

The panel of members heard from the following witnesses during the forum:

Dr. Dennis Becker, dean and professor of natural resource policy, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho 

David Tenny, president and CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners

Collin O'Mara, president and CEO, National Wildlife Federation

Zach Freeze, senior director II of strategic initiatives, sustainability, Walmart, Inc.

Each witness testified to the benefits of healthy forests, drawing on their expertise and experiences to share how trees benefit both the environment and the economy.

"From a carbon standpoint, this comprehensive approach to forest management is how we've always looked at the forest," Becker said. "Maybe it wasn't carbon specifically we were managing for, but improved carbon sequestration and storage is certainly the outcome. By the latest estimate, forestland, harvested wood products and urban forests collectively represent the largest net carbon sink in the United States, offsetting more than 11 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions annually, or about 40 percent of our transportation sector...I'm interested in supporting research that improves the management and operation of our nurseries, our state and federal forests, and our industrial and nonindustrial forestlands, investing in workforce training and landowner actions to retain and enhance our public and private forests."

"Mr. Westerman, we're grateful to you for pulling this group together and we are eager to continue working with you, because we've got a lot of work ahead of us," Tenny said. "It's the right kind of work to do!"

"There is no equivalent right now to carbon capture through nature," O'Mara said. "We are incredibly grateful to [Ranking Member Westerman] and your team's leadership, and we're proud at the National Wildlife Federation to be supporting you in this effort."

"As we build a new home office campus in Northwest Arkansas, we are embracing the natural beauty of our home state by using mass timber for construction," Freeze said. "According to our supplier, Structurlam, its mass timber products are from sustainably managed forests right here in the Natural State - Arkansas. With more than 1.7 million cubic feet of mass timber material incorporated into the new Walmart Home Office campus, it will be the largest mass timber campus project in the United States. At Walmart we are committed to sustainable forestry and the importance of protecting forests as a key tool in addressing climate change. We are proud to be a supporter of the Trillion Trees Act recently reintroduced by Ranking Member Westerman and his bipartisan colleagues."

Watch the full forum here.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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