State Should Seize Opportunity to Add Revenue from Carbon Credits, Commissioner Tells Senate
March 22, 2023
Selling carbon credits from state-owned lands can add new revenue to state coffers while reducing Washington’s carbon footprint, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz told the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy and Technology Tuesday morning.
Testifying in support of House Bill 1789, Commissioner Franz stressed how carbon stored in Washington’s forests, fields and waterways could add new revenue for school and communities, while fighting climate change and protecting Washington’s working forests. The legislation was approved on a bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives March 7, and is now being considered by the Senate.
“When we can go to carbon markets to fund our much needed investments in our lands and waters, we then don’t take critical much needed funding that would otherwise go to housing, education, and mental health to name a few,” said Commissioner Franz. “Let us be part of the solution to reducing costs on state budget to addressing climate change. That’s good policy. That’s good government. That’s good leadership.”
Under the legislation, prime sponsored by Rep. Kristine Reeves (D-Federal Way), DNR would be able to sell carbon credits on the open market as many private industries already do. This would enable DNR to provide Washington-based carbon credits for the cap-and-invest program created under the Climate Commitment Act.
DNR currently has the authority to lease state-owned lands for carbon sequestration and capture, but cannot directly sell carbon credits. Using commercial leases is an unnecessary and time-consuming step that keeps DNR out of markets that private landowners already have access to, and results in less revenue generated for our beneficiaries. These leases are also capped at 99 years in length, which does not comply with permanence provisions with the Climate Commitment Act.
DNR would also establish a transparent process for the sale of carbon credits that would help to ensure that the sales of these credits provide the greatest benefit to beneficiaries, local communities and the state.
TVW coverage of this morning’s hearing and Commissioner Franz’s remarks is available online at: https://tvw.org/video/senate-environment-energy-technology-2023031431/?eventID=2023031431