Thursday, April 18, 2024

Commissioner Franz Celebrates House Passage of Carbon Credit Bill

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OLYMPIA – Washington moved a step closer to capitalizing on the ability of the state’s public lands to capture and store carbon to help address climate change and increase revenues for schools and communities, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said.

The Washington House of Representatives passed on a bipartisan vote of 82-13 House Bill 1789 on March 7. She also noted this progressive, first-ever, and forward thinking policy supports and enhances our working forestlands while improving the health of our forests, farms and aquatic lands.

Commissioner Franz has pledged to work with Senators and stakeholders to ensure the final legislation will help Washington achieve the goals set forth in the Climate Commitment Act while protecting working forests and increasing revenue for schools and communities.

“I’m thrilled this bill passed the House with bi-partisan support and eager to work toward final passage in the Senate. The legislation reflects the concerns of a broad range of stakeholders who understand the value of our public lands and forests,”said Commissioner Franz. “Enabling my agency to innovate and take forward looking action to generate additional revenue for the state while expanding our working forests and taking action on climate is critical. It will send a message to our children and our communities that we’re committed to letting Washington’s working lands work for Washington, providing jobs, food, sustainable building materials, and climate action.”

DNR currently has the authority to lease state-owned lands for carbon sequestration and capture, but cannot directly sell carbon credits. Under the legislation, DNR would be able to sell carbon credits on the open market as many private industries already do. The credits could support projects to reforest the more than 138,000 acres that have burned in wildfires, expand forestland throughout the state, and protect and enhance kelp forests and eelgrass meadows.

Our public lands have supported communities and schools, powered rural economies, provided critical fish and wildlife habitat, and made us who we are since 1889. Washington is a stronger state because of the working forests, farms, and aquatic lands under public ownership. Enabling DNR to sell carbon credits will add a critical funding tool that will generate more revenue to support kids and schools, restore critical salmon habitat, protect and increase forestlands, and make Washington a more climate resilient state.

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