Advocacy

Issue Brief: The Excess Urban Heat Mitigation Act

THE ISSUE

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) supports legislation that helps mitigate the impacts of climate change, using green-infrastructure and nature-based solutions such as green roofs, tree planting, bus and transit shelters, and other cooling techniques.

Background

Climate change is intensifying heat frequency, duration, and temperatures, which, in turn, affect public health and air quality, infrastructure maintenance, the frequency of natural disasters, and more. This extreme heat creates a “heat island effect” in urban areas where the infrastructure absorbs more heat and creates pockets of higher temperatures compared to natural landscapes. As the number one weather-related cause of death in the United States, responsible for more than 600 deaths annually, extreme heat is putting communities at risk, with underserved communities being most impacted. Innovative solutions that work in tandem with natural systems and consider the needs of all communities are needed to combat extreme heat.

Landscape architects design and implement green-infrastructure and nature-based solutions to mitigate impacts of climate change such as extreme heat. Landscape architecture solutions—including tree planting programs, green roof installations, and other cooling techniques—have proven track records to help mitigate these climate-related impacts.


Bill Summary

On April 18, 2022, Representative Ruben Gallego (AZ), with Representative Watson Coleman (NJ), introduced H.R. 7534, the Excess Urban Heat Mitigation Act of 2022. This bill would help bring proven solutions to communities nationwide. Specifically, the measure would establish a grant program to provide communities with access to solutions that help mitigate some of the impacts of climate-induced high temperatures, including green roofs, tree planting, bus and transit shelters, and other cooling techniques.

Additionally, this bill seeks to advance environmental justice initiatives by providing specific consideration for projects in underserved communities. For example, no less than 50 percent of financial assistance under this bill will be provided for projects in low-income and Environmental Justice communities in any fiscal year.

There is currently no Senate counterpart to this bill.


Recent Action

On April 18, 2022, H.R. 7534 was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

Sponsors

H.R. 7534: Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-7), and cosponsors.  

Contact

Roxanne Blackwell, 
Esq., Hon. ASLA,
Director of Federal
Government Affairs
governmentaffairs@asla.org

Elizabeth Hebron,
Director of State
Government Affairs
governmentaffairs@asla.org

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