Over ninety cities and communities in Texas have ordinances protecting trees on private property. Most city ordinances set out rules so that developers must preserve mature native trees that provide many benefits to city-dwellers. A few city ordinances also apply to homeowners.
As you may have heard Governor Abbott wants to make these kind of local ordinances illegal. Currently there are bills pending in the special session to do exactly that.
“Trees affect the environment, cool your property and the neighbors’, reduce energy costs, clean the air,” said David Foster, Texas director of Clean Water Fund. “They take up and hold water, release it into the air and increase rainfall. They reduce storm water runoff, hold soil and mitigate erosion, which reduces flooding. They capture carbon,” which combats heat-creating atmospheric CO2.
According to Andrew Dobbs with the Texas Campaign for the Environment, “Trees are very important. They provide so many different benefits to our land, to our water, to our communities, to our economy. If this bill goes through, you’re going to see huge losses of trees in large parts of the state, especially in parts of the state where we really need them.”
Dobbs said trees would be particularly targeted in areas where rapid development is occurring, “but everywhere needs them. What we’ve seen is that when you cut trees down and you pave things over, you create a lot of flood problems and growth is happening in places where you already have flood problems. You do this and you just accelerate those challenges,” he said.
The special session ends August 16. Let your legislators know what you think. There is a petition and more at Texas Campaign for the Environment.