Deer Park Tribune

Franz Supports DNR Selling Carbon Credits


Carbon credits has been a hot topic in the state of Washington. Now Commission­er of Public Lands Hillary Franz is urging the legislatur­e to allow the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to join the growing market for carbon credits.

Franz said storing carbon in Washington's forests, fields, and waterways could be a new source of revenue for schools, communitie­s, and environmen­tal conservati­on under legislatio­n currently before the state legislatur­e.

The legislatio­n, Senate Bill 5688 and House Bill 1789, would give the DNR authority to sell carbon credits on the open market, like many private industries already do.

DNR currently has the authority to lease stateowned lands for carbon sequestrat­ion and capture, but it cannot directly sell carbon credits. Franz said that using commercial leases is seen as an unnecessar­y and time- consuming step that keeps DNR out of markets already accessible to private landowners and results in less revenue for beneficiar­ies. Additional­ly, these leases are capped at 99 years, which does not comply with the permanence provisions of the Climate Commitment Act.

"I have two mandates from the people of Washington – use our public lands to build stronger communitie­s and schools and protect our environmen­t. This legislatio­n accomplish­es both of those," said Commission­er Franz. "We've seen carbon- driven climate change lead to more extremes throughout Washington, be it more extreme wildfires, hotter and longer heat waves, or wilder winter storms. By joining the private sector in selling carbon credits, we will create more jobs, restore more habitat, generate new revenue for local communitie­s and use our forests, farms and tidelands to help fight climate change."

The legislatio­n, sponsored by Senators Liz Lovelett and

Joe Nguyen in the Washington State Senate and Representa­tive Kristine Reeves in the Washington State House, had its first hearing on February 10 in the Senate Committee on Environmen­t, Energy and Technology.

Funds earned through carbon credits by the DNR would also generate revenue for habitat restoratio­n on its 2.6 million acres of stateowned aquatic lands and establish a transparen­t process for the sale of carbon credits to ensure the greatest benefit to beneficiar­ies, local communitie­s, and the state.

"Washington state is leading the world on meaningful and measurable climate action, and this bill would be a significan­t step in furthering our ambitious goals," said Senator Lovelett. "Our public lands and working forests are the beating heart of communitie­s across the state, but many don't know of the incredible work that DNR does to support urban forestry and aquatic environmen­ts. This policy will equip the agency to be a changemake­r in drawing down carbon and remediatin­g ecosystems - both urban and rural."

Leaders from Clean & Prosperous Washington, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and the Natural Conservanc­y also support the legislatio­n, seeing it as an innovative approach to decarboniz­ing while generating revenue for projects that future generation­s will benefit from.

"Washington's public lands are a critical component in the fight against climate change," said David Mendoza, Director of Public Advocacy and Engagement for the Natural Conservanc­y. "We support this legislatio­n because it is essential for the Department of Natural Resources to have access to the carbon credit market and use their land to help mitigate the impacts of climate change."

 ?? Photo: DNR ?? Commission­er of Public Lands Hillary Franz
Photo: DNR Commission­er of Public Lands Hillary Franz

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