Trees Atlanta Response to Proposed Tree Cutting Legislation

House Bill 501 is currently under consideration, introduced by State Rep. Al Williams, a Democrat from Midway. Most citizens are flabbergasted by it.  The bill, if passed, would require the cutting down of every tree that could fall into a highway.

Trees Atlanta’s stance is, simply put, that this bill should make it no further.  It’s not necessary.  The Georgia Department of Transportation is already charged with the mission of clearing hazardous dead trees from state rights-of-way, and there is no evidence that the state has failed in its discharge of that mission.

We must plant a diverse selection of trees, control pests and invasive plants, and utilize proper pruning practices (practices that strengthen trees instead of weakening them). Forests support us in more ways than we usually think about: by improving air quality and controlling temperature (very important in cities that become heat islands in the summer), reducing water pollutants, sequestering carbon, helping conserve energy by intercepting radiant heat, providing habitat and biodiversity, reducing erosion and noise, and more.

Rep Williams has said, “I love trees as much as anybody, but I never saw a tree I loved more than a child or adult…. I’ll stand by life.” In fact, a healthy forest is critical to life; it’s not a luxury. It is certainly not an impediment to life. If we invest a fraction of the amount of money it would take to remove all of these tall trees into keeping the trees healthy and protecting more forest, we can have a better Georgia for all.

Parts of this article correspond to an AJC article found here: