The REPLANT Act Helps the U.S. Forest Service Carry Out Reforestation Projects to Address the Climate Crisis and Create Nearly 49,000 Jobs
Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, joined his colleagues in introducing the Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act. This legislation will help the U.S. Forest Service plant 1.2 billion trees on national forests and create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next ten years.
“Forests are critical to our state’s economy, and we need to invest in them like the essential infrastructure they are,” said Bennet. “After a devastating wildfire year in Colorado, our national forests have significant restoration and rehabilitation needs. The REPLANT Act is part of the solution – it will help to alleviate the backlog of work and improve outdoor recreation opportunities, while creating thousands of jobs and tackling climate change in the process.”
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 2 million acres in need of restoration. Each year, only 15% of the national forest tree planting backlog is addressed.
The REPLANT Act quadruples investments to support reforestation projects on national forests. The bill 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 also 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. Additionally, it 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. Planting these trees will help address the climate crisis by sequestering 758 million metric tons of carbon over their lifetimes, which is equivalent to avoiding the use of 85.3 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.
In addition to Bennet, this legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
Companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Kim Schrier (D-Wash.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.).
This legislation is supported by over 50 leading organizations and companies including American Forests, Trust for Public Land, BPC Action, The Forest Stewards Guild, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, The Longleaf Alliance, Evangelical Environmental Network, Green Forests Work, Lyme Timber, REI, Salesforce, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and many others.
“Americans need their National Forests more than ever. Our forests create jobs, provide clean water, and combat climate change by sequestering millions of tons of carbon. Yet, millions of acres are being ravaged by climate-change induced wildfires, droughts, pests. With an antiquated cap on the Reforestation Trust Fund, the Forest Service is falling behind in restoring our forests and only addressing a fraction of our tree planting needs,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “The REPLANT Act will turn that around and give the forest service access to the funds necessary to catch up and keep up with growing reforestation need. Over the next decade, this bill will allow the Forest Service to plant 1.2 billion trees, reforest more than 4 million acres, and create nearly 49,000 green jobs.”
“REI Co-op proudly supports the REPLANT Act to increase reforestation efforts on our public lands. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will not only increase carbon sequestration in our national forests, but will enhance recreation opportunities, create jobs and revitalize local economies across the country. We look forward to supporting the passage of this critical legislation that harnesses the power of our national forests,” said Taldi Harrison, REI Co-op Government Affairs.
"After a year in which the U.S. lost millions of acres of forest to wildfire, the REPLANT Act would put trees in the ground in our national forests to help fight climate change while also creating jobs. This bipartisan legislation is needed urgently, and Salesforce is proud to support it," said Joel Elliott, Director of Federal Affairs at Salesforce.
“By removing the $30 million cap on the Reforestation Trust Fund, the REPLANT Act will provide much needed financial resources to better manage our nation’s forests to enhance habitat for fish and wildlife while providing quality access opportunities for America’s sportsmen and women. This bipartisan legislation is widely supported by the sporting-conservation community, and we are excited to see it reintroduced,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane.