President Trump Endorses Portman's Bipartisan REPLANT Act to Create Jobs & Expand Funding to Restore America’s National Forests
Today, President Donald Trump endorsed Senator Portman’s bipartisan Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act, legislation to expand funding for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to carry out reforestation projects in U.S. forestland damaged by events such as wildfires, drought, insects and disease, while creating nearly 49,000 jobs over the next 10 years.
To address the Forest Service’s reforestation backlog of 1.3 million acres and continued annual reforestation needs, the REPLANT Act removes the current $30 million annual funding cap for the Reforestation Trust Fund, the primary source of funding for USFS’s replanting needs, making an average of $123 million annually available for reforestation in National Forests. In addition, the REPLANT Act will direct USFS to quantify the backlog of replanting needs, reduce delays by expanding stewardship contracting, and encourage state and Tribal partnerships. Among other associated activities, reforestation includes planting tree seedlings on forests that are unlikely to regenerate on their own in order to reestablish native plants and ensure the health of ecosystems and wildlife that depend on forests.
Replanting forests is an effective way to create jobs in rural America, support natural ecosystems and improve natural carbon sequestration. Estimates show that the REPLANT Act would help plant 410,000 acres, or 123 million trees annually, for a total of 4.1 million acres (1.23 billion trees) over the next ten years. That’s the equivalent of sequestering 75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or avoiding the use of 8.5 billion gallons of gasoline, in a decade.
A transcript of President Trump’s remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.
President Trump: “Earlier this year, I announced that the United States would join the One Trillion Trees Initiative to plant new trees in America and around the world. Today I’m calling on Congress to expand this effort by passing the REPLANT Act, sponsored by Senator Rob Portman. Thank you, Rob. Very good. Thank you. Great. Thank you. Fellas, would you both stand up, please? That’s fantastic. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Jeff. Thank you, Rob.
“Which would quadruple the funding for the restoration of our national forests. This would quadruple the funding, create thousands of jobs, and help plant more than one billion trees in America and on American soil over the next 10 years.
“When you add all of this to what we did in Utah, if you remember that – that was a year and a half ago – but we did Bears Ears National Monument. When you add all of this to Bears Ears, I would say - and it got my attention when Steve and a whole group came up to my office. When you - actually, both of you came up with a group, and you said this would be bigger than Theodore Roosevelt. I said, 'Do me a favor: You don't have to say that. Let's just say it will be the same or almost as good.' Because he was truly the great conservation President.
“But the kind of things we've done - and they don't talk about it, but the kind of things we've done are really record-setting. This is record-setting stuff, and you're all a big part of it. So thank you. And thank you, Rob. Great job."