(HARRISBURG, PA)—Harry Campbell, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in Pennsylvania, applauded a unanimous vote by the state House Transportation Committee that could lead to the planting of more trees along streams and streets in the Commonwealth.
The committee voted to pass House Bill 2486, which would create the Keystone Tree Fund, on to the full House for a vote. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming.
The Keystone Tree Fund creates a voluntary $3 check-off box on Pennsylvania's driver's license and vehicle registration online applications to buy, plant, and maintain more trees across the Commonwealth. These voluntary donations will support the existing Tree Vitalize and Riparian Forest Buffer Grant programs through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Mr. Campbell said:
"Passing the Keystone Tree Fund is a positive step for the Commonwealth's communities and creeks by giving Pennsylvanians the opportunity to invest in the future of cleaner rivers and streams.
"Roughly 19,000 miles of our rivers and streams are damaged by pollution and trees are one of the most cost-effective tools for improving local water quality.
"Along streams, trees filter and absorb polluted runoff, stabilize streambanks, improve soil quality, and cleanse drinking water sources. Along streets they help cleanse and reduce runoff going into storm drains, beautify communities, and improve air quality.
"Additional resources through the Keystone Tree Fund can accelerate efforts to reach the Commonwealth's Clean Water Blueprint goal of 95,000 acres of forested buffers in Pennsylvania's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It is a goal shared by DCNR and CBF.
"The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by CBF, was launched earlier this year and intends to plant 10 million trees in the Commonwealth by the end of 2025.
"CBF appreciates efforts by House members to pass the Keystone Tree Fund and urges the legislature as a whole to do the same."
Senate Bill 1208, which would also create a Keystone Tree Fund, was introduced in that chamber by Senator Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, and Senator John Yudichak, D-Luzerne.
To learn more about the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership visit www.TenMillionTrees.org.