For Immediate Release – March 22, 2021 Contact: Mark Spannagel – (202) 731-0486
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa joined Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA.) and Mike Simpson (R-ID), in introducing the Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act, to help the U.S. Forest Service restore our National Forests, which will create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next ten years.
LaMalfa said, “Wildfires devastated millions of acres in California last year, and the Forest Service is facing an enormous backlog of lands that need to be restored. The REPLANT Act will assist with getting burned areas replanted in the North State and across the West. We cannot leave our public lands a virtual moonscape that creates the brush conditions that lead to the next terrible fire. Replanting our damaged forests protects our watersheds and begins to restore wildlife habitats and recreation. This is one step needed to protect our forests, but we also must improve our active forest management to reduce the risk of these massive forest fires.”
“After last year’s deadly and destructive wildfires, we were left with forests that were burnt and barren and an overwhelming backlog of federal reforestation projects,” said Congressman Panetta. “The REPLANT Act would mandate federal funding for the Reforestation Trust Fund so that we can decrease that backlog by significantly increasing the resources needed to plant more trees in burn scarred areas. That type of reforestation is needed to protect our communities from post wild-fire mudslides, sequester some of our carbon emissions, provide critical wildlife habitats, improve downstream drinking water quality, and restore our nation’s precious public lands for generations to come.”
“In Idaho, we are blessed with an abundance of forests,” said Congressman Simpson. “However with forests comes wildfires, and from wildfires you lose precious natural resources such as trees. Through the Reforestation Trust Fund we can replant these trees in our national forests, without using taxpayer funds. This will benefit our environment through carbon sequestration, our economy through job creation in rural communities, and recreation all across the country. This bill has broad bipartisan and bicameral support and from a diverse group of stakeholders who are on the ground replanting our national forests.”
“I am pleased to join my colleagues in the Senate and House in introducing this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to address the reforestation needs within our national forests. 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. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this common sense, bipartisan legislation to address the replanting needs across our nation’s forests,” said Senator Portman.
“Restoring our national forests will not only support our hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation economies, it’s also part of the solution to the climate crisis,” said Senator Stabenow. “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. The demand for reforestation has vastly outpaced the current funding available, which has contributed to a backlog of nearly 2 million acres in need of restoration. Each year, only 15 percent of the national forest tree planting backlog is addressed.
The REPLANT Act removes the current funding cap of $30 million per year in the Reforestation Trust Fund, making an average of $123 million annually available for reforestation in National Forests. 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.
The bill directs the Forest Service to develop a 10-year plan and cost estimate to address the backlog of replanting needs on national forest land by 2031. It also prioritizes land in need of reforestation due to natural disasters that are unlikely to naturally regrow on their own.
The REPLANT Act will help reforest 4.1 million acres by planting 1.2 billion trees over the next 10 years. Reforestation 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.
In addition to Sen. Stabenow, Sen. Portman, Rep. Panetta, and Rep. Simpson, the bill is cosponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Roger Marshall, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Kim Schrier, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Rep. Salud Carbajal, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Mark Takano, and Rep. Debbie Dingell.
This legislation is supported by over 50 organizations and companies including California Forestry Association, Forest Landowners Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of State Foresters, and Society of American Foresters.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.
Chief of Staff
Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)