Housing Complex

Who Speaks for the Trees?

Needs a little help from some friends. (Lydia DePillis)

Needs a little help from some friends. (Lydia DePillis)

Trees have had a rough time of it in the last few weeks: Getting axed by local restaurants, and almost axed by construction, and wilting in the sun. To make matters worse, in the last budget cycle, $539,000 was cut from the "Tree Fund," which is set aside to plant trees around the District.

This morning, the D.C. Libertarian Examiner (I know, I know) placed the blame squarely on Councilmembers for failing to keep the tree money from being sucked back into the general fund. The purpose of the article seems to be to highlight GOP candidate for Ward 6 Jim DeMartino's strong pro-tree platform, taking Tommy Wells and Mary Cheh to task for their lack of fortitude.

Last week, though, Cheh told me it just slipped through unnoticed. She was so busy fighting to restore funding for other environmental priorities–the Anacostia River cleanup fund, the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund–that the leafy line item fell through the cracks, equating to roughly 2,000 unplanted trees.

"It's funny the hypocrisy that goes on around here," she said, citing the Fenty administration's stated goal of obtaining 40 percent tree canopy cover in the District. "It was smuggled into the Budget Support Act, and I didn't notice."

We can all agree on blaming the mayor, right?

  • Sally

    Easy way to verify whether it "slipped" past Cheh - review her committee's budget report for all her agencies. If there's no mention of the tree fund revenue, then her staff failed to correctly do their jobs. If there is a mention of it, then she's making up excuses afterwards.

  • Alex Burchfield

    Where's the Lorax when you need him?!

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