WASHINGTON— More than 95 conservation and climate change groups sent a letter today to the House Natural Resources Committee opposing the Trillion Trees Act, saying the bill would ramp up logging, increase carbon emissions and worsen wildfire risk.
H.R. 5859, introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), is scheduled to be heard by the committee on Wednesday.
“This deceptive bill is the worst kind of greenwashing and a complete distraction from urgently needed reductions in fossil fuel pollution,” said Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Research shows that preserving natural forests is the best way to absorb and store carbon, not logging trees and turning them into 2x4s.”
Westerman’s bill sets targets to increase logging in national forests, while setting a goal to plant 1 trillion trees by 2050. But any climate benefits from planting tree seedlings would not be realized until the new trees reach maturity many decades later. Federal law already requires replanting after logging.
“The bill would significantly increase logging across America’s federal forests, convert millions of acres into industrial tree plantations, increase carbon emissions, increase wildfire risk and harm wildlife and watersheds,” today’s letter noted.
The letter urges lawmakers to do more to protect forests, not convert them into industrial plantations. Solutions to address the climate crisis must focus on deep reductions in fossil fuel emissions, the letter said.
“This is nothing more than a gift to the logging industry,” Spivak said. “If Westerman were truly serious about addressing the climate crisis, he’d work on a bill to slash fossil fuel emissions by half over the next 10 years and protect our forests. One of the best places to start is to end oil and gas leasing on public lands and in our oceans.”