Sen. Ventura

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura advanced a new measure that would create a grant for local governments to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

“Encouraging local governments to plant native trees and grasses, which are proven to help mitigate climate change through carbon capture, is an essential step toward a cleaner environment,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “With the ongoing climate crisis impacting the entire world, it is evident that every level of government needs to focus on addressing this important issue to ensure the upcoming generations have a secure future.”

The Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Act would require the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to establish a grant program for local governments to restore degraded forests and prairies, encourage planting trees and grasses along roadways to help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and address flooding and prevent snow and dirt drifts.

According to FDCE Conservation and Bioenergy, a Midwest-based conservation and solar energy company, native grasses are the best options for carbon-sequestering as they protect the soil from weather and water runoff. Over time, carbon levels increase and nutrients return to the soil. Since these plants are perennial, carbon stays within the plants and soil and out of the atmosphere.

“About 25% of global carbon emissions are captured by plant-rich landscapes such as forests, grasslands and rangelands,” said Ventura. “Illinois continues to be a leader in environmentally conscious legislation and I’m proud to push this through to continue being a champion for our planet.”

Senate Bill 2781 passed the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee on Thursday and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.