Climate bill focused on forestry and agriculture would protect Maine’s natural resources


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Merle Parise owns MJP Forestry in Newcastle.

Mainers have a deep connection and appreciation for nature and the outdoors. From providing endless opportunities for recreation to supporting our state’s economy, our precious natural resources are essential to our way of life.

I would venture to say that’s why most people in Maine would support policies that protect our environment and address the impact our changing climate has on it and on communities across the state – from weather increasingly erratic with sea level rise.

Having built my career around working with Maine’s natural resources, I am especially grateful to Senator Susan Collins for her efforts to support legislation that advances carbon reduction efforts while supporting a vital industry sector. economy of Maine: agriculture and forestry. His work to advance bipartisanship Climate Solutions Growth Act should not go unnoticed.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act would give Maine farmers and foresters the tools and resources they need to learn and integrate carbon-reducing farming practices into their daily routines. This bill would create a program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would not only provide vital information on how best to adopt these practices, but also connect Maine farmers and foresters with certified third-party organizations. seeking to buy the carbon credits they would accumulate. In doing so.

In that regard, this program would provide an invaluable economic lifeline to our state’s agricultural community while helping to reduce emissions here and across the country. By taking this approach, the Growing Climate Solutions Act would help us achieve a low-carbon future more quickly without jeopardizing the economic strength of the entire agricultural sector. This is especially critical as we work to rebuild a stronger and more resilient post-pandemic economy.

Farmers and foresters are more affected by our changing climate than members of perhaps any other industry. Yet farmers and foresters do not have access to carbon credits due to the lack of a comprehensive framework to help them develop systems that would qualify for carbon credits. This bill will be broadly representative of the private agricultural and forestry sectors and will include socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and other historically underserved private farmers, ranchers or forest owners. These private landowners and managers have an outsized role to play in developing and promoting solutions to combat climate change, and the Growing Climate Solutions Act is the perfect way to bring them to the table in a voluntary and supportive way. the growth.

As natural carbon “sinks”, forests in particular already play a critical role in carbon sequestration and storage. Encouraging the continued strengthening and adoption of carbon sequestration techniques will help increase our ability to sequester carbon and other potentially harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are increasing in our atmosphere. Not only that, but carbon sequestration can be increased by strengthening the fungal network which is known to increase carbon sequestration and improve soil quality, creating an additional incentive for farmers and foresters.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act is just smart policy, plain and simple. That is why he has such broad bipartisan support – he has already past the senate by a vote of 92 to 8 – and won the seal of approval major national environment, agriculture and business groups. Now it’s time for Congress to get this bill across the finish line.

As a Mainer, I’m proud of all the hard work Collins has put in to get across the aisle and work with his colleagues to pass smart legislation that would advance carbon reduction efforts, would protect Maine’s natural resources and strengthen a key sector of our economy. She should continue to urge her colleagues in the House to pass and pass this much needed bill.

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