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Op Ed: Tree Lovers Should Oppose SB14 and HB 70

A tree is protected by wood planks during construction at a private residence in Austin on June 12, 2017. Photo by Austin Price/The Texas Tribune.
Texas Historic Tree Coalition president Mary Ann Graves rebuts those who want to overturn local tree ordinances. A tree is protected by wood planks during construction at a private residence in Austin on June 12, 2017. Photo by Austin Price/The Texas Tribune.

Published July 24, 2017 By MARY ANN GRAVES

 

I encourage you to learn the facts about Texas Senate Bill 14 and House Bill 70, which would prohibit the protection of trees in your community. These bills would override your community’s own tree ordinance and allow clear cutting of land with no mitigation for loss of the tree canopy. The freedom of a person to do what they want with their land is being pitted against the need for the preservation of one of our most valuable natural assets. There’s a better way to look at this issue, and people in many cities across Texas have worked hard to find a reasonable way to protect freedom and the tree canopy. They have agreed among themselves what is best for their community and have created their own tree ordinances.  

The tree canopy in your community is a strong engine that cleans and cools the air and slows the rate of storm water runoff. Look around your city – that concrete, glass and metal holds a lot of heat. Trees are one of our best defenses against the urban heat island effect. Mature trees in neighborhoods can increase property values by up to 20 percent. And trees are good for business. Studies show that shoppers spend more time and money at businesses that have good tree cover. Texas Historic Tree Coalition members know that trees are beautiful and are often living witnesses to history. We have worked all over the state of Texas to recognize and preserve valuable trees.  

The special session of the Texas Legislature will close in less than four weeks. We ask that you learn about SB 14 and HB 70, and take a stand.  Whatever your opinion may be, let it be known. 

Take the time to make your opinion count, it’s worth the effort to protect our trees!

Learn more at Defendtexastrees.org.  

If you oppose this legislation:

  1.  Sign the petition.  
  2.  Call your local House Representative or Senator to express your opposition to any legislation that eliminates tree preservation. 
  3.  Call the Texas House Urban Affairs committee members to express your opposition to any legislation that eliminates tree preservation.
  4.  Tell your friends to learn and ACT!

About the author

Ms. Mary Ann Graves

Ms. Graves is the president for the Texas Historic Tree Coalition.

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