Portman, Stabenow Announce REPLANT Act Included in Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation

Bipartisan Legislation Will Strengthen Efforts to Protect Forestland from Wildfires, Flooding & Other Catastrophic Events

August 3, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced their bipartisan Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act has been included as part of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the end result of the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations from the past three months.

The REPLANT Act quadruples investments to support reforestation projects on national forests by removing the current funding cap of $30 million per year on the Reforestation Trust Fund. This will help the U.S. Forest Service plant 1.2 billion trees on national forests and create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next 10 years. The bill only uses funds that are already being collected through tariffs on foreign wood products – it does not change the list of products, increase the tariffs, or use taxpayer funds.

“More and more we’re seeing catastrophic wildfires, flooding and other events that require greater investment in addressing our reforestation needs,” Portman said.  “This legislation will strengthen our efforts to protect our national forests, and I’m pleased it is included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This legislation provides a wide range of benefits, including improving our environment by sequestering carbon dioxide, reinvigorating ecosystems, and supporting wildlife that depend on healthy forests, while also creating nearly 49,000 jobs and expanding recreation opportunities on national forestland.”

“This is a historic investment in restoring our national forests after years of devastating wildfires,” said Senator Stabenow. “Including REPLANT in the bipartisan bill is a win-win. Not only does this support our hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation economies, it’s also part of the solution to the climate crisis. Planting trees is a cost-effective way to draw carbon out of the air, restore our public lands, and create jobs.”

From destructive wildfires to invasive pests and disease, national forests across the country are in desperate need of reforestation efforts. The demand for reforestation has vastly outpaced the current funding available, which has contributed to a backlog of nearly two million acres in need of restoration. Each year, only 15 percent of the national forest tree planting backlog is addressed.

Planting these trees will help sequester 75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in a decade, which is equivalent to avoiding the use of 8.5 billion gallons of gasoline. Reforestation also improves soil health and protects wildlife habitats for hunting and fishing. It also strengthens our economy by creating jobs. A report completed by American Forests found that the REPLANT Act would create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next 10 years.