The Issue
ASLA supports legislation that promotes tree planting in urban and suburban areas that would revitalize communities by beautifying retail storefronts, rental housing, and local parks. 

Background & Analysis
The Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance Act of 2010, H.R. 4509 and S. 3279, have been introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate to enhance community livability and economic vitality by providing federal funding for community tree planting initiatives.  The legislation would provide grants for communities to hire private nurseries, arborists, and landscape architects to plan, administer, and provide technological expertise for tree-planting projects that would help beautify retail storefronts, rental housing and other public areas. Research has shown that tree planting can help stimulate local economies by attracting businesses and tourists.  Given the current economic climate, this bill would provide timely assistance to help stabilize real estate values as properties along tree-lined streets rent for higher prices and with less turnover.

Introduced by Representative Kurt Schrader on January 21, 2010 and Senator Ron Wyden on April 29, 2010, the legislation reauthorizes the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Tree Planting Program at $50 million annually from FY2011 to FY2015.  Communities receiving federal grants would be required to match 25 percent, including in-kind contributions such as providing tree maintenance and care for a period of three years after planting.  This match ensures that both private and community investments are made for the installation and care of trees funded by this program.

House - Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR) and co-sponsors
Senate - Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) and co-sponsors

Current Status
H.R. 4509 was referred to the House Subcommittee on Small Business: Contracting and Technology where it is awaiting further action.
S. 3279 was referred to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship where it is awaiting further action.

The National Small Business Tree Planting Program was first established in the 1990s. According to the National Association of State Foresters, more than 18,000 landscapers, nurseries, arborists, foresters, and landscape architects were employed to plant more than 23 million trees across the country as a result of the program.  The funds were allocated by population and resulted in hundreds of local grants.  Unfortunately, SBA did not have the appropriate resources and funding necessary to administer the program, ultimately causing inefficiencies that lead to its discontinuance.  Under the proposed legislation, the SBA would be authorized to use up to 20% of allocated funds for administrative purposes.

• H.R. 4509
• S. 3279
• Rep. Schrader’s Press Release

Related ASLA Policies
• Livable Communities 


ASLA Government Affairs