In response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Build Back Better Act today, American Forests President and Chief Executive Officer Jad Daley released the following statement:
Today’s House vote on the Build Back Better Act is nothing short of historic. It moves us one step closer to securing robust climate-smart investments in combating urban extreme heat and air pollution, preventing catastrophic wildfire, and incentivizing the protection and restoration of our forests. More than 340 forestry, forest product, conservation, fire and water nonprofits, trade associations, industry groups, municipalities, public health officials, researchers and scientists agree that our forests are our best natural solution to climate change and are vital to securing our economic, equity and climate goals. These forestry investments will change and save lives.
The House’s Build Back Better Act provides over $30 billion in climate-smart forestry investments:
- $2.83 billion for urban and community forestry, including Tree Equity grants to increase urban tree canopy, advancing environmental justice, health equity and quality of life in the communities most in need;
- $19 billion to protect communities and armor America’s forests against devastating wildfires;
- $1.25 billion for the Forest Legacy Program to permanently preserve more than 1.8 million acres for biodiversity, habitat and recreation through conservation easements and voluntary acquisition;
- $1.25 billion in incentives for private landowners to implement climate-smart forestry on their land, especially for forest landowners who are historically disadvantaged;
- $780 million for wood innovation grants to support traditional wood utilization projects, expand wood energy markets, and promote using wood as a construction material in commercial buildings;
- $450 million for post-fire recovery and to replant forests that cannot grow back on their own;
- $2.7 billion for integrating trees in agriculture through USDA programs for farmers; and
- Billions to stand up a Civilian Climate Corps to put people to work planting, maintaining and restoring forests.
Together, these commitments amount to more than 42 million acres of forest protected and restored, and by 2030, those trees can sequester more than 474 million metric tons of CO2e. The Build Back Better Act is a commitment not only to protect and put to work our forests here in the United States, but also to uphold our nation’s role in protecting and restoring the world’s forests.
We applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi, her leadership team, and House Agriculture Chairman David Scott for their commitment to funding forestry solutions for our climate in this transformational bill.
We urge the Senate to preserve this robust funding for America’s forests and send the Build Back Better legislation to the president’s desk to put our forests to work for our communities and our climate. Our lives all depend upon it.