CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) yesterday introduced legislation that would increase tree planting and reduce residential energy bills across the United States. The Tackling Residential Energy burdens Efficiently Act, or the TREE Act, creates a cost-share grant program at the Department of Energy to provide funding to plant a minimum of 300,000 trees annually in residential neighborhoods that will reduce energy consumption and help protect public health.
“By strategically increasing the amount of trees planted in our communities, we can improve the quality of our air, increase property values, and reduce residential cooling costs,” Senator Capito said. “Connecting this program to our energy providers, nonprofits, and state and local governments will enable us to work together to reduce our carbon emissions and provide significant benefits to our economy. West Virginia is known for being wild and wonderful, and I want to ensure that reputation is preserved by planting trees for future generations that will enjoy all the many benefits of these investments.”
“Planting trees improves air quality, reduces temperatures on hot days, and creates healthier neighborhoods,” Senator Booker said. “Low-income communities and communities of color have less neighborhood trees, and this lack of tree cover is associated with a whole host of serious health issues. This is an environmental justice issue that must be remedied in order to support our most vulnerable communities.”
According to the U.S. Forest Service, urban trees reduce the energy used for heating and cooling homes in the United States by more than 7 percent. This results in approximately $7.8 billion in annual savings from reduced energy costs. Also, it has been found that increasing the amount of tree canopy results in lower temperatures, less air pollution, fewer asthma attacks and less deaths from extreme heat.
The TREE Act’s grant program would prioritize the following projects:
The TREE Act will support meeting the goal of the One Trillion Trees initiative, which President Trump announced the United States was joining earlier this year. President Trump has stressed the importance of America’s involvement in the global initiative, which intends to restore one trillion trees by the year 2050.
Full text of the TREE Act is available here.
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