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On July 18th, Texas Legislature will vote on 20 items during a special session. One of these items includes revoking local municipalities’ right to enforce local city tree ordinances.

The constitutionality of municipal tree ordinances was originally addressed in Senate Bill SB 782. The recent opposition of local tree ordinances in Texas asserts that property owner’s rights are being violated. Opposition also contends that it is unconstitutional to enforce tree ordinances on private property, both commercial and residential, and propose restricting local municipalities from enforcing tree preservation mitigation or mitigation fees.

We urge the Governor of Texas and Texas Legislature to leave local regulation of trees to local municipalities within the State of Texas. Many Texas municipalities established tree ordinances decades ago to maintain, preserve, and add to the existing tree population, which have proven positive environmental, social, and economic impacts. Currently there are approximately 50 Texas cities with local tree preservation ordinances, including Abilene, Austin, Dallas, Helotes, Houston, Rockwall, Rowlett, San Antonio, and San Marcos.

On an environmental level, trees capture rainwater, improve air quality, lower air temperature, reduce solar radiation and surface temperatures of buildings, mitigate urban heat island effect, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. They remove pollution from the atmosphere and improve air quality. They reduce storm water runoff, reduce soil erosion, and improve water quality. They provide shade in spring and summer, and serve as wind barriers in the winter.

On a social level, trees promote walkability and socialization in communities. They provide aesthetic value and habitats for many species. Communities with trees report lower crime rates and lower rates of vandalism, as well as lower noise levels. Trees provide psychological and health benefits, and lower stress levels for people within communities.

On an economic level, trees reduce energy consumption thus lowering utility bills. They increase property, resale value, and occupancy rates.  Trees have been proven to lower employee absenteeism rates and lead to increase productivity.

We urge you, <<DELETE THIS AND INSERT REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME>>, to leave tree ordinances to local municipalities.