May 28, 2021
In response to the release of the Biden-Harris Administration’s proposed budget today, American Forests President and CEO Jad Daley issued the following statement:
“American Forests applauds the Biden-Harris Administration’s strong commitment to forests and other nature-based solutions to address climate change, economic growth and job needs. It is clear that the administration’s vision and commitment to build back better includes the power of our trees and forests to create a stronger, more prosperous nation and a healthy, resilient natural environment.
“The President’s budget is particularly notable for its investments in preparing our forests for threats such as catastrophic wildfires, insects and disease, and drought, as well as providing long-awaited investment in forest conservation, restoration, and regrowth. The breadth and scale of these investments is unprecedented, and will make America’s forests healthier and more resilient into the future. We especially appreciate the inclusion of historic increases for resilience solutions to wildfire, for restoration and reforestation of degraded forestlands, and other forestry actions that will deliver nature-based solutions to climate change.
“The budget also makes a clear, urgently needed commitment to begin correcting environmental inequities that have long denied the benefits of nature to underserved communities, consistent with the administration’s unprecedented Justice40 initiative. We appreciate the administration’s commitment to these communities, including a new funding request for urban energy efficiency.
“Specific to the work of American Forests, we know that these environmental inequities include widespread differences in neighborhood tree cover that subject low-income areas and communities of color to higher rates of heat-related illness and death, higher energy costs, dirtier air and water, and lack of access to nature due to a systemic lack of trees. Creating Tree Equity across our communities is essential so these communities are not further left behind in the push for climate resilience and health equity. We can help communities plant and care for trees as way to address urban heat islands and related environmental and health issues via increased funding from USDA’s Urban and Community Forestry program. We are very disappointed that this budget does not provide any increase for Urban and Community Forestry, and American Forests will work to maximize the amount and impact of federal investment in Tree Equity through this program and other federal authorities as part of the final FY22 Appropriations.
“American Forests commends the Administration’s vision for a greener, healthier, better-forested America, and its commitment through this budget to critical investments in trees. We look forward to working with leaders in Congress to help make this vision a reality.”