Bipartisan agriculture climate bill clears Senate

Bipartisan agriculture climate bill clears Senate
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The Senate on Thursday passed bipartisan legislation aimed at granting farms access to carbon offset markets by a 92-8 vote.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, introduced by Sens. Mike BraunMichael BraunCDC backtracks with new mask guidance GOP senators invite Yellen to brief them on debt ceiling expiration, inflation Rand Paul introducing measure to repeal public transportation mask mandates MORE (R-Ind.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate passes bill to award congressional gold medal to first Black NHL player The glass ceiling that diverse Senate staff still face Here's evidence the Senate confirmation process is broken MORE (D-Mich.), next heads to the House. The measure would establish a Department of Agriculture certification process through which producers can generate and sell carbon credits.

The "no" votes were from a combination of the right wing of the Republican caucus and the left wing of the Democratic caucus: Sens. Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Congress can make progress on fighting emissions with Zero Food Waste Act MORE (D-N.J.), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTrio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Atlanta-area spa shootings suspect set to be arraigned Noem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event MORE (R-Mo.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Trio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE (R-Utah), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeGillibrand expects vote on military justice bill in fall The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden backs Cuban protesters, assails 'authoritarian regime' Trump getting tougher for Senate GOP to ignore MORE (R-Okla.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Olympics medals made of mashed up smartphones MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Bipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games Lawmakers urge Biden to make 'bold decisions' in nuclear review MORE (D-Ore.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Lawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans Warren hits the airwaves for Newsom ahead of recall election Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action MORE (D-Mass.).

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Lee also proposed an amendment to the bill, which would remove the federal certification program for agriculture advisers and credit verifiers from the measure. Lee’s amendment was rejected 89-11.

“Farmers and foresters are already leading the way ... through their many conservation efforts. They work to reduce their impact every day through conservation practices that cut down on emissions and store carbon in their soil and trees,” Stabenow said on the Senate floor Thursday. “According to the National Academies, scaling up these climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices in the U.S. could offset the annual emissions of nearly 110 million cars. The Growing Climate Solution is a key piece of the enormous potential that land-based solutions have to help solve this crisis.”

“Farmers have always led the way on protecting our environment, and the Growing Climate Solutions Act helps them get paid for their sustainable practices through voluntary carbon credit markets,” Braun said in a statement. “Hoosiers and Americans want real-world solutions, and Growing Climate Solutions is a bipartisan, common-sense, pro-jobs win that farmers, industry leaders, and conservationists can all support — all without growing our government or our deficit.”

Despite the bill’s bipartisan passage and the support of dozens of agricultural and environmental groups, carbon offsets are a controversial concept among conservationists. Opponents of the practice have argued it punts on emission reductions rather than actively cutting them.

Merkley echoed these criticisms in a statement explaining his vote, saying, "I applaud Chairman Stabenow and my Senate colleagues for their important work on addressing this crucial problem, but ultimately I don’t believe that an offset system that subsidizes corporations’ continued pollution in frontline communities is the best strategy. Let’s set incentives that reduce pollution in both agriculture and frontline neighborhoods."