The Oregon Association of Nurseries, and numerous other green industry trade groups, are getting behind the Green Communities Act, a federal bill introduced recently by U.S. Rep. Alyson Schwartz (D-Penn.). The bill would direct the U.S. Department of Commerce to award matching grants to up to 80 municipalities towards improving their “green infrastructure.” This could include revitalizing public parks, landscaping community gateways and key corridors, planting trees, conducting urban forestry products, planning for open space preservation, training and educating and managing volunteers, constructing green roofs, building green stormwater infrastructure (presumably rain gardens, bioswales and the like), and managing vacant lots.
Gregg Robertson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association, said the bill would be a big positive for the green industry as well as American communities. “Congresswoman Schwartz truly understands the economic, environmental and social benefits of our green infrastructure – trees, gardens, parks and landscaped areas. We are pleased to be able to work with her on H.R. 2222 to extend the green benefits that Philadelphia enjoys to the entire country.”
The OAN and 50 other groups signed on to a letter of support, which reads, in part: “The benefits provided by trees and landscape plants in combating climate change, from carbon sequestration and associated ecosystems benefits to enhancing energy efficiency and reducing an energy consumer’s reliance on fossil fuels, are complimentary to the purpose of this bill, and among the many reasons that federal policy must include investments in America’s green infrastructure.”