WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – House Republicans unveiled Wednesday their proposals to tackle climate change during this election year when voters seem to be paying close attention to the issue.
Trees, plastics, and tax policy are at the core of the bill package.
“One thing that unites us all as Americans is a cleaner, safer and healthier environment,” said the top Republican in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.
President Trump, who sometimes dismisses climate change, noted one of the GOP proposals during his State of the Union address.
“To protect the environment, days ago I announced the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world,” Trump said.
Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-AR, introduced the Trillion Trees Act Wednesday.
“It actually means a trillion trees,” Westerman said. “That’s the global initiative to plant a trillion trees by 2050.”
Westerman said his bill may sound like a big ask, but it comes with a big reward. It would recapture two-thirds of the carbon released since the Industrial Revolution.
“There’s great power in all of these trees working together across the planet,” Westerman said.
The legislation would also create a tax credit encouraging businesses to use sustainable materials like wood.
Westerman pointed to the Natural State as inspiration, where the University of Arkansas has constructed the two largest wooden buildings in the country and where Walmart plans to build its new corporate headquarters out of wood.
“We can share with the rest of the world what sustainable forestry is all about and how we can use it to benefit the environment,” he said.
The group of House Republicans are also proposing further conservation efforts with a focus on plastic, and clean energy innovation and funding.
They said their policies will put pressure on countries like China and India to follow suit, arguing the Democrat alternative, the Green New Deal, fails to do so.