With temperatures rising every year and deadly heat waves becoming more frequent and severe, it’s important for the federal government to act to combat extreme heat and reduce heat-related health issues.
This summer, Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman and Ruben Gallego introduced the SHADE Act (H.R. 4817), which would provide funding to plant and care for trees in disadvantaged communities across the United States. This legislation joins several other bills in Congress already aimed at increasing tree canopy, including the Excess Urban Heat Mitigation Act (H.R. 2945/S. 1379) and the Neighborhood Tree Act (S. 1380). Trees help to provide critical infrastructure, all while improving health, combating climate change, cooling our communities, and providing myriad economic benefits. On the heels of the historic investment in the USDA Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program, we must involve other federal agencies in the fight against extreme heat. These bills will enable the federal government to take a more comprehensive approach to delivering lasting impacts in communities.