February 26, 2015

Udall, Portman, Burr and Whitehouse Introduce Bill to Promote Conservation and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), announced that they have introduced the Tropical Forest Reauthorization Act of 2015 (TFCA). This legislation reauthorizes a program that has saved over 67 million acres of tropical forest by allowing developing countries that meet certain criteria to be relieved of debt owed to the United States in exchange for their conservation efforts. Additionally, this legislation now expands these efforts to cover non-tropical forests and coral reef eco-systems.
"This bipartisan effort presents a great opportunity to preserve precious eco-systems while strengthening our economic and security ties with developing nations," Udall said. "Reauthorization of the Tropical Forest Conservation Act offers a sensible path to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions globally by preventing deforestation, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to push for legislation that moves our energy policy forward and preserves our natural resources for future generations."

"This legislation not only strengthens ties with countries that could become significant economic and national security partners with the United States, but it also takes strides to protect our natural resources for the next generation," Portman stated. "Deforestation is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions, and this is a commonsense and proven approach that has protected millions of acres of tropical forest."
"Reauthorizing TFCA will continue our efforts to conserve critical tropical and coral habitat overseas," Burr said. "The partnership agreements this legislation would benefit both conservation and good governance efforts in the developing world."
"I'm proud to join Senator Portman in supporting this legislation to preserve natural resources like coral reefs and rain forests," Whitehouse said. "These resources play an essential role in supporting thriving ecosystems and reducing harmful carbon pollution while also making our world a more beautiful place to live."
It is estimated that the 19 projects enacted by TFCA in 14 countries around the world will generate over $336 million for tropical forest conservation.