US Reps. Pingree, Stefanik Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Invest in Climate-Forward Forestry Practices
Washington, June 9, 2021
Tags: Food and Agriculture
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y) today introduced the Rural Forest Markets Act, bipartisan legislation to help small-scale, family forest owners access new economic opportunities and develop solutions to mitigate the climate crisis.
“As we grapple with the effects of climate change, companies across the country are increasingly searching for ways to offset their carbon emissions, including through carbon sequestration in forests. 95% of Maine forest land is privately owned, but few forest owners currently participate in carbon markets due to the up-front costs and uncertainty about rules and requirements,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). “Today I’m introducing the Rural Forest Markets Act to support projects that will help Maine’s family forest owners tap into carbon markets. This bill will create an economic incentive for climate-friendly management of Maine’s forests and make sure we protect lands that are the environmental and economic backbone of our rural communities.”
“The North Country is home to thousands of forest owners, and the forestry sector is crucial to the New York State economy. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan and innovative legislation to incentivize climate-friendly management, provide a revenue stream to help small scale, family forest owners access new economic opportunities, and develop solutions to mitigate the climate challenges we face without burdening American taxpayers and small businesses,” Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
The Rural Forests Market Act would create a program at USDA to guarantee loans, bonds, or other investment vehicles up to $150 million to non-profits and companies for projects that assist private forest owners in overcoming financial and technical barriers so they can create and sell carbon credits, using a methodology approved by a credible third party. This would create an incentive for climate-friendly management and provide another revenue stream for forest owners.
Congresswoman Pingree is a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration. She also serves as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, where she oversees U.S. Forest Service funding.