Budget Update … and the Time for UF Advocacy is Always Now

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Thanks once again to the tireless Danielle Watson, Assistant Director of Government Affairs & External Relations for the Society of American Foresters, for this legislative update on the federal Urban and Community Forestry budget for FY 2018.

As readers know, Congress is still trying to negotiate a deal for FY 2018. They have until January 19th until the current Continuing Resolution expires (after which there is, as readers probably are well aware, the threat of a government shutdown). If Congress reaches a deal and extends the Continuing Resolution, they will likely extend it until Feb. 19th. At that point, assuming they have a deal, they would sign an omnibus bill including all the spending bills from various agencies.

Remember, the House version of the Interior bill (the one that includes the Forest Service) only cut U&CF by a small amount, but the Senate bill cut U&CF by 25%. Therefore, we can assume that the final number will be somewhere in between – unless they hear a lot of push back from advocates of urban and community forestry between now and Feb 19th.

Plus, they have to start developing numbers for FY 2019 – so it’s always a good time to let your representatives in the House and Senate know how important this program is and that communities across the country can’t afford cuts to U&CF. 

American Forests set up an Action Alert site and below are a few suggested social media posts as well. These action alerts and social media posts are really about volume – and we need lots of people to be sending these and tagging their senators/reps. Calls and personal emails would also be great, of course. And, the sample letter on the American Forests site can be used as a script for your call. If you like to write Letters to the editor, we need you!

A few example posts designed for organizations to rally their members – but again, we need individuals to then repurpose these and tag their senators/reps and draw more attention to it.

Twitter:

Have you seen the latest action alert from @AmericanForests? With the threat of a 25% budget cut for the US Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program, let Congress know that urban forests are important to everyone’s quality of life and any cut is unacceptable. @forestservice @SenatorGreen @RepGreen #saveoururbanforests #urbanforestry #treespayusback

Urban forests save money, make cities livable, increase property values, and so much more. Tell congress to protect the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program and #saveurbanforests. @forestservice @SenatorGreen @RepGreen #urbanforestry #treespayusback

Facebook:

City trees save us money, make us healthier, improve our mood and so much more, yet the Senate is suggesting a 25% cut to the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program for fiscal year 2018. Let Congress know that urban forests are important to everyone’s quality of life and any cut to the program is unacceptable. Save our urban forests!

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