Casten Successfully Led Effort to Increase Funding For Morton Arboretum

June 26, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) announced that he secured a $12.4 million increase in funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Urban and Community Forestry program which is a source of support for services of The Morton Arboretum located in DuPage County. The Urban and Community Forestry program aims to improve forest sustainability, combat climate change, and assist in reforestation efforts. The funding was included in the House-passed H.R. 3055, the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Act of 2020. 

In April, Representative Casten led a letter with seven other members of the Illinois delegation to the U.S. House of Representative’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies advocating for robust funding of this program, recognizing its benefit to Morton Arboretum. The letter was prompted by the proposed elimination of the program in the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal.

Casten said, “I am proud that the funding I sought to support the Urban and Community Forestry program was passed by the House this week. The health of our forests is crucial to combatting the effects of climate change and preserving the beauty of our environment. This fund will enhance the health of forests across the country so that many Illinoisans, including constituents in the 6th District, can continue to enjoy the Morton Arboretum and so many more Americans can enjoy other forests like it.”

"The Urban and Community Forestry program provides a critical service for trees and communities. This is especially important for the planting and care of trees due the recent loss of millions of ash trees to the emerald ash borer in the Chicago region," said Dr. Gerard T. Donnelly, President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum.  

The request to Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Chairwoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) and Ranking Member David Joyce (OH-14) was also signed by Representatives Robin Kelly (IL-02), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Danny Davis (IL-07), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Bradley Schneider (IL-10), and Bill Foster (IL-11).

To read the full letter, click here