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Sen. Marshall co-authored climate bill passes Senate

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Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 2:28 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A bill regarding climate which was co-authored by Senator Roger Marshall has passed the U.S. Senate.

Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says the U.S. Senate has passed his bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act, which breaks down barriers for farmers that want to participate in carbon markets so they may be rewarded for climate-smart practices.

“Everyone in agriculture understands we have been and will continue to be the solution, not the problem when it comes to ensuring a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment,” said Senator Marshall. “The bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act is completely voluntary and gives farmers the majority seat at the table – after all, they are the original environmentalist. I’m pleased to see this big win for Kansas farmers pass the Senate, and want to thank Chairwoman Stabenow, Ranking Member Boozman, and Senator Braun for their work on this and for working with us to improve this legislation.”

According to Sen. Marshall, the bill creates a certification program at the USDA to help solve technical entry barriers that hinder farmers and forest landowners to participate in carbon markets. He said the issues include access to reliable information about markets and access to qualified technical assistance providers and credit protocol verifiers, which have limited participation and the adoption of practices that help reduce the cost of developing carbon credits.

Sen. Marshall said the bill will establish a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program, which is a completely voluntary program where the USDA will be able to provide transparency, legitimacy and informal endorsement of third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits through agriculture and forestry-related practices. He said the USDA certification program will put bumpers on carbon credit markets and ensure that the assistance providers have agriculture and forestry knowledge, which is underwhelming in the current marketplace. As part of the program, he said the USDA will create a new website, which will serve as a one-stop-shop for producers and foresters that are interested in participating in such markets.

According to the Kansas Senator, the program will help the USDA connect landowners to private sector actors which can help them implement the protocols and monetize the climate value of their sustainable practices. Third-party entities that are certified under the program, he said will be able to claim the status of a USDA Certified technical assistance provider or verifier. He said the certification lowers barriers to entry in the credit markets by reducing confusion and improving information for those looking to implement practices that capture carbon, reduce emissions, improve soil health and make operations more sustainable.

Marshall said currently, many third-party groups are creating protocols and testing methods to calculate emissions reduction and sequestration in agriculture and forestry. He said the landscape is rapidly evolving, which the bill recognizes and provides the Secretary with a sturdy advisory council made up of farmers and forest landowners, as well as other agriculture experts, scientists, producers and others. He said the advisory council shall advise the Secretary and ensure that the certification program remains relevant, credible and responsive to the needs of farmers, forest landowners and carbon market participants.

Finally, Marshall said the bill instructs the USDA to send a report to Congress to advise it about further development of the policy area including barriers to market entry, challenges raised by farmers and forest landowners, market performance and suggestions on where the USDA can make a positive contribution to further adoption of voluntary carbon sequestration practices in agriculture and forestry. He said the bill also has a sunset of 2026 to allow Congress to address any shortcomings.

To read the bill, click HERE.

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