WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan joined Republican and Democratic Senators today in passing the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021. The bipartisan bill, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, will make it easier for New Hampshire farmers and private forest landowners to participate in carbon markets and get rewarded for climate-smart practices. The bill has broad, bipartisan support from more than 60 agricultural and environmental organizations and passed the Senate 92-8.
“Tackling climate change is going to require an all-hands on deck effort, and America’s farmers have been on the forefront of that fight,” said Senator Hassan. “Their leadership promoting climate-smart practices, responsible stewardship, and conservation has been on full display in New Hampshire and provides a roadmap for protecting our environment and growing our economy at the same time. This is a commonsense, bipartisan bill and its passage in the Senate is a smart step forward in addressing climate change.”
The Growing Climate Solutions Act creates a certification program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help solve technical entry barriers that prevent farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. These issues – including access to reliable information about markets and access to qualified technical assistance providers and credit protocol verifiers – have limited both landowner participation and the adoption of practices that help reduce the costs of developing carbon credits. To address this, the bill establishes a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program through which 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 a variety of agriculture and forestry related practices. The USDA certification program will ensure that these assistance providers have agriculture and forestry expertise, which is lacking in the current marketplace. The bill would also make it easier for private forest owners to participate in the program, which would benefit more New Hampshire landowners and in turn encourage them to preserve their forested lands, while also growing the carbon credit market.
Senator Hassan is working to address climate change and promote energy efficiency in New Hampshire and across the country. The Senator recently led a number of her colleagues in reintroducing bipartisan legislation to support and expand programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a collaborative effort across 11 states including New Hampshire that uses market-based tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. Senator Hassan’s bipartisan Battery Storage Innovation Act – which was signed into law as part of the December government funding package – expands the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program to include supporting the deployment of battery storage technology. Better battery technology will help increase the use of renewable energy sources and eliminate reliability gaps throughout the day.