Pingree, Miller-Meeks, Schrier Introduce Biochar Research Network Act
Washington, March 17, 2023
U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), and Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) today introduced the bipartisan Biochar Research Network Act. Biochar is a black material produced from biomass that when buried underground sequesters carbon. This bill would create a National Biochar Research Network to test biochar’s ability to absorb carbon on a variety of soil types and to increase crop production. Bill text may be found here. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“From improving soil health and remediating contaminated soils to increasing carbon sequestration, biochar has so many beneficial uses. In Maine, biochar production is a true win-win – it’s an opportunity to support innovative uses of forest products and farmers can utilize it to improve soil health and sequester carbon. We must invest in research to understand its full potential to address pressing issues like climate change and PFAS soil remediation in Maine and all around the country. I’m proud to introduce the Biochar Research Network Act, which will help fill existing knowledge gaps around the climate-related and other benefits of biochar. As we draft the next Farm Bill, I will be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support coordinated biochar research,” said Representative Pingree.
“We can all agree that we want to leave a cleaner, healthier planet for our children and grandchildren. Our agricultural sector in Iowa is vital to our economy and biochar sits at the intersection of smart agriculture, environment, and energy practices,” said Representative Miller-Meeks. “Biochar has the incredible potential to help sequester carbon in our agriculture communities and we must ensure that we are using every resource at our fingertips to promote this innovative tool. The benefits of biochar are not yet fully recognized, and this bill would promote research and provide us the information we need to fully utilize biochar in a variety of types of soil and methods.”
“As a Washingtonian who treasures our natural environment, understands the importance of water conservation and soil health, and advocates for 8th district farmers, I am very excited about this bill,” said Representative Schrier. “The Biochar Research Network Act is a critical bill that will help us understand more about how biochar can benefit farmers and provide important opportunities for economic development in rural America.”
“Farmers rely on science and innovation to increase crop productivity and advance soil health and water quality goals. Biochar presents an exciting opportunity for farmers looking for a low-cost way to improve soil quality while sequestering carbon. I’m proud to introduce legislation to research biochar’s potential to serve as an effective tool for farmers in the future,” said Senator Grassley.
Pingree is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, and is Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee.