Submitted by Molly Haskell
I encourage everyone who supports trees to attend a legislative briefing on the Municipal Reforestation Act (S.452, H.869) and the Shade Tree Update Bill (S. 1280/H. 2094) on May 4 at 10 a.m. in Room 428 of the State House. If you can’t attend in person, you may join virtually. The Zoom registration link can be found here.
Hosted by sponsors Senator Cynthia Creem, Representative Steven Owens, and Representative Jennifer Balinsky Armini, the briefing is an opportunity for legislators and their staff to learn about this important bill to expand and preserve the Commonwealth’s urban forests, and the important updates proposed to modernize Chapter 87, the Massachusetts Shade Tree Law.
The Municipal Reforestation Act sets up a structure to provide funding and technical assistance for participating municipalities to create robust urban tree canopy covers, especially in treeless and environmental justice neighborhoods where residents suffer from extreme heat and air pollution. Because they remove carbon dioxide from the air, cool ambient temperatures, and provide numerous other community co-benefits, urban forests are recognized by many as an essential part of the Commonwealth’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Bedford’s own Dan Churella, former Chair of BARC, is a contributor to the drafting of the Municipal Reforestation Act.
It is crucial that climate and tree advocates show support for this legislation by appearing in large numbers at this event. Additionally, you may write a letter of support to Representative Gordon and Senator Barrett, and tell them it’s time to preserve and promote trees.
For more information about both bills, see the website for Boston’s grass-roots community, Speak for the Trees:
Molly Haskell is Chair, Bedford Arbor Resources Committee.