By John-Miguel Dalbey
Representative Jim Moran announced his retirement recently, following more than 20 years of service. As senior Democrat on the Interior Appropriations Committee, Representative Moran did much to protect green infrastructure and urban forestry throughout the nation by ensuring adequate funding for both research and programs supporting such causes. His campaign and office have been vocal about the benefits of urban forests, placing importance on a wide range of environmental issues, such as carbon sequestration, decreased reliance upon fossil fuels and reduction of energy usage.
Furthermore, Representative Moran has worked diligently in order to keep provisions that seek to weaken protections for our national forests and national parks out of spending bills. In particular, Moran supported strong funding for the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, a broad, wide reaching program throughout the nation.
For his continued support of environmental causes and his “green” voting record, Representative Moran has consistently received high marks from the League of Conservation Voters. The Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition, including the policy working group co-chaired by American Forests, has worked closely with Representative Moran over the years, advocating for increased funding for federal programs that support urban forests and green infrastructure. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, he has often been the sole supporter of forestry-related causes; in a New York Times interview, Moran states, “I’m strongly opposed to clear-cutting, but I’m a big fan of thinning. I really think in terms of Forest Service that we ought to let some of our trees grow stronger and taller. We’ve had a rash of forest fires, and I think one of the things that that indicates is we’re not doing a good enough job in thinning and clearing our forests.” At American Forests, we appreciate the Congressman’s understanding that healthy forests sometimes require management actions like thinning.
In Congressman Moran’s words, “If we have the ability to take action to preserve our environment, on which the cornerstone of all life on Earth depends, and refuse to do so, we have failed our moral obligation to strive for equity and justice.”
Thank you, Congressman Moran for your work on behalf of forests, urban and rural.