Senate Passes Growing Climate Solutions Act

The U.S. Senate has passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act with overwhelming bipartisan support to create a third-party certification carbon program at USDA.

Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, is the bill’s co-sponsor.

“This bill puts farmers and foresters first,” she says.

Stabenow says the bill does three things for producers: sets up a network of experts and third-party verifiers to help producers market carbon, creates online resources, and sets up an advisory council to help guide USDA.

Republican Senator Mike Braun, co-sponsor and Indiana tree farmer, says the legislation also simplifies the process for small farmers to participate in carbon markets.

“It allows the USDA to provide legitimacy to the trustworthy actors in the marketplace,” he says.

The bill passed by a vote of 92-8 and is supported by more than 175 ag and environmental organizations.

The National Farmers Union is one of those groups and says the legislation will facilitate farmers’ participation in carbon markets, granting them greater access to the financial incentives to invest in climate-smart agricultural practices.

The American Farm Bureau hopes the U.S. House will take up the bipartisan support of this effort, saying landowner participation and the adoption of practices have been slowed by a lack of access to reliable information about private carbon markets which the bill will help address.

Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson however says the bill is a big-government solution in search of a problem. He says the consequences of government intrusion into voluntary carbon markets have not been adequately explored and Congress should continue educating itself and vetting these issues before legislating.

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