Oregon Nurseries Applaud Senate Tree Bill

Oregon Nurseries Applaud Senate Tree Planting Bill
By Oregon Association of Nurseries

Wilsonville, Ore. — The Oregon Association of Nurseries today praised Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) for introducing a Senate version of the Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance (SBESA) Act of 2010.  The legislation recognizes the role of trees in creating jobs, promoting energy efficiency, providing environmental benefits and making public areas more appealing by reauthorizing the National Small Business Tree Planting Program.

“Introduction of this bill demonstrates that our Oregon delegation understands that trees mean jobs,” said Jeff Stone, OAN’s Director of Government Relations. “We hope to see quick action so our growers and landscape professionals can support job creation and tree planting initiatives across the country.”

Sen. Wyden was joined by original co-sponsors Sen. Kay Hagan (NC), Sen. Tom Harkin (IA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR), Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI) on his legislation.

“Among the many things Oregonians do well is growing things, and trees are at the top of that list,” Wyden said. “There can be no better time than now to renew the Small Business Tree Planting Program because it will protect jobs in Oregon’s valuable nursery sector. I am happy to join the entire Oregon delegation in helping our communities and small businesses green and beautify their retail and commercial areas.”

The bill authorizes $50 million annually for the next five fiscal years. It directs the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) to provide grants through state forestry agencies and to contract with local nurseries, arborists and landscape professionals to plant trees around retail storefronts and rental housing complexes, along community main streets and parks.  Local green industry businesses will coordinate with non-profit organizations to develop a strategic plan for leveraging local resources.

Between 1991 and 1994, more than 18,000 green industry firms were employed to plant more than 23 million trees across the country through the SBA program.

A House version of the SBESA Act, H.R. 4509, was introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) on January 26th of this year.  H.R. 4509 has bi-partisan support with all of the Oregon delegation co-sponsoring the bill.

“I applaud Senators Wyden and Merkley for introducing a Senate companion to HR 4509, the Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance Act,” said Schrader. “I’m looking forward to working with my friends to pass these bills this year and provide a critical boost to our nursery industry which is so vital to Oregon’s economy.”

“This program creates private-sector jobs in local communities across the United States,” said OAN President Kevin Klupenger of K-TEK International. “It relieves stress on local communities that have no funding for developing their tree canopy.  It’s a win-win,” he said. “As the largest exporter of nursery stock in the country, Oregon’s green industry stands ready to support it.”

### The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 1,200 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon’s ornamental horticulture industry is among the state’s largest agricultural commodities, with annual sales of $820 million. More than 75 percent of the nursery plants grown in Oregon are shipped out of state. For information visit www.oan.org  or call (503) 682-5089.

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