D.C.’s tree protections just got one step closer to being strengthened.
Last week, in a unanimous decision (3-0), the Committee on Transportation and the Environment voted in favor of the Tree Canopy Protection Amendment Act of 2016.
Councilmember Brandon Todd (Ward 4) joined the co-sponsors of the bill, Councilmembers Mary Cheh (Ward 3) and Charles Allen (Ward 6), in expressing their commitment to a greener, healthier D.C. by voting the bill out of committee.
This is a major step forward for this bill becoming a law.
Next up, the bill will be placed on the full DC Council’s agenda, where it will need to pass two votes (and get the Mayor’s signature) to become enacted. There’s no timeline on when that might be, but it’s likely to be in the next few weeks.
While this first major hurdle has been cleared, the bill still needs support from the full Council.
We encourage supporters of the bill to contact your councilmember via email, phone or social media to let them know how important trees are to you. If using social be sure to include the hashtag, #treebill.
Like any bill that goes through committee there are some changes and additions. Here are the highlights:
- The size limit for Special Trees is reduced from 55 to 44 inches.
- A new category for protected trees, Heritage Trees, is created. Heritage Trees are over 100 inches in circumference.
- The fees and fines for removing a Special Tree are to increase.
- Tree Fund money will be used to plant trees on public space, DC-owned schools and parks, and on private lands.
- An Urban Forestry Advisory Council will be created to coordinate the city’s tree-related matters.
We want to thank all of the advocates who testified before the DC Council and the over 500 D.C. residents who signed our petition.