On August 16, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. This act is the most significant action Congress has taken on clean energy and climate change in the nation’s history. This act aims to curb inflation by reducing the budget deficit and investing into clean energy. The US Forest Service will receive $5 billion in funding to assist in helping communities prevent wildfires, provide grants to non-Federal forest landowners, and to support state and local forestry programs.
The most impressive feat of the Inflation Reduction Act in regards to forestry is the massive $1.5 billion grant given to support the US Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program. This program is covered under the Justice40 initiative, part of Biden’s plan to address environmental justice concerns nationwide. The majority of the funds available for private landowners is specifically directed towards underserved landowners in low-income areas. The program aims to support urban tree-planting and urban forest planning and management. In addition to supporting landowners, the program works to educate communities, arborists, youth, etc. on planting urban trees and maintaining them.
The Inflation Reduction Act is one of the strongest pieces of environmental legislation passed since the 1970s. Not only does it recognize the importance of investing and converting to clean energy, but it recognizes how important forestry is when it comes to maintaining a healthy environment.