Give agriculture a shot at carbon credits: spokeswoman
Mon Jun 1, 2009 3:14pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. agriculture should be allowed, as part of a climate-change bill being drafted in the U.S. House, to earn money for carbon offsets, a spokeswoman for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday.
At present, the bill is silent on a role for farms and forests in controlling emissions of greenhouse gases. Under House rules, the Agriculture Committee and seven other committees now have a chance to modify the bill.
Vilsack believes agriculture and forestry should be included in an offsets program and the Agriculture Department should play a role in overseeing any such program, spokeswoman Chris Mather said in an email.
Since taking office in January, Vilsack has pointed to the potential income for farmers and ranchers from a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases.
At a town hall meeting last week in McAfee, Kentucky, Vilsack said it would be easier for USDA, with an office in most rural counties, than the Environmental Protection Agency to oversee rural work on carbon capture, according to the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.
Cap and trade legislation will drastically affect agriculture one way or the other. With the good practices that American agriculture employs, they deserve the ability to be compensated. If our politicians are going to punish those making carbon, they it needs to reward those that sequester it. The best thing for this country would be to forget this system all together, but we maybe too far removed from common sense to hope for that anymore.