(The Hill) — Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker (R) reiterated his opposition to Democrats’ climate, health care and tax bill over the weekend, arguing that too much of the money is “going to trees.”
“They continue to try to fool you like they are helping you out. But they’re not. They’re not helping you out because a lot of money it’s going to trees,” Walker said, according to a clip of his remarks that was shared with The Hill.
“Don’t we have enough trees around here?” he added, in comments that were first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He instead called for spending more money on law enforcement and complained about spending for the Internal Revenue Service.
The legislation, which has nearly $370 billion in spending on climate change and energy and was signed into law by President Biden last week, puts $1.5 billion toward the Urban and Community Forestry Assistance program, which plants trees in urban areas.
Experts say that tree-planting can improve both climate change and health outcomes when planted in urban spaces.
“If you were to plant millions of trees, which is what many countries want to do…we’d be removing a significant amount of carbon,” said Paul Falkowski, a professor at Rutgers in the Earth and Planetary Sciences and Marine and Coastal Sciences departments.
“Urban tree planting is very, very productive in the sense that it increases the trade, it increases the flux of moisture in the local environment, which decreases the temperature,” Falkowski added.
While the Democratic legislation did include funding for that program, its marquee climate programs include tax credits for clean energy development and incentives and penalties that aim to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry .
Walker’s comments attracted significant attention on Twitter as the candidate faces a tight race against Sen. Rafael Warnock (D).
They’re not the first environmental remarks from Walker to spark conversation. The candidate previously claimed that “good air” from the U.S. would float over to China if the U.S. took steps to combat climate change — and that the U.S. would be stuck cleaning China’s “bad air.”
Falkowski said, however, that it doesn’t work this way.
“Many countries have a significant amount of aerosol pollution because they burn coal. The lifetimes of these aerosols is a few weeks. Once that air gets across the Pacific Ocean, if it rains, most of that air is cleaned up. Very, very little Chinese pollution makes it to the continental United States,” he said.