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News: 300+ GCA Club Members Advocate for the Environment on Capitol Hill


February 25, 2020

NAL delegates will “speak for the plants.”

More than 300 club members of The Garden Club of America are in Washington, DC this week. With passion and knowledge they are advocating on behalf of the environment on Capitol Hill.

The 37th annual National Affairs and Legislation (NAL) Conference will focus on promoting the GCA’s legislative priorities: financing national park maintenance, promoting the use of native plants along highways and in national parks, and saving the seas from plastics debris.

NAL delegates will “speak for the plants,” GCA President Debbie Edwards noted.

Delegates will focus on permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire land and offer matching grants for state park and recreation projects. Senate and House of Representatives bills, S. 1081 and H.R. 3195, are addressing this with bipartisan support.

Restoring native plants along highways and in national parks is another GCA priority. The Native Plant Species Pilot Program Act of 2020 (S. 3150) and the Monarch and Pollinator Highway Act of 2019 (S. 2918) also discourage the use of invasive and non-native plants. Similar language was incorporated into the American Transportation Infrastructure Act (S. 2303), which would provide $287 billion in highway spending over five years. Discussions between Senate and House committees continue. 

The GCA is interested in the long-standing deferred maintenance and construction backlog at our nation’s parks. The Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R, 1225) and the Restore Our Parks Act (S. 500) would create funding to address the backlog. It has 329 bi-partisan co-sponsors. Both bills are moving slowly. 

The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act (S. 1982) follows the Save Our Seas Act, which was signed into law in October 2018 to continue to combat plastic waste and marine debris in our oceans. S. 1982 passed the Senate on January 8, 2020 with bipartisan support. The companion bill H.R. 3969 currently has 31 sponsors and is in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

For nearly 100 years, GCA club members have influenced policy on pollution, water quality, litter, national seashore protection, native plants, wildflowers, trees, marine life, forests, parks, and all national resources.



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