Stefanik, Pingree Introduce Rural Forest Markets Act

June 10, 2021
Press Release
Saratoga, NY – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) introduced bipartisan legislation to help small-scale, family forest owners access new economic opportunities and incentivize investment in climate-forward forestry practices.
 
The Rural Forest Markets Act will:
 
  • Establish the Rural Forest Market Investment Program at USDA to offer guaranteed loans of up to $150 million for companies to help small and family foresters create and sell forest credits for storing carbon
  • Encourage forestland owners to adopt voluntary practices to draw carbon out of the air
  • Create a new revenue stream for small-scale, family foresters by making it possible to generate innovative credits they can sell in established markets
  • Spark investment in rural communities by reducing financial risk to make these projects possible
 
“The North Country is home to thousands of forest owners, and the forestry sector is crucial to the New York State economy,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan and innovative legislation to incentivize climate-friendly management, provide a revenue stream to help small scale, family forest owners access new economic opportunities, and develop solutions to mitigate the climate challenges we face without burdening American taxpayers and small businesses.”
 
“As we grapple with the effects of climate change, companies across the country are increasingly searching for ways to offset their carbon emissions, including through carbon sequestration in forests. 95% of Maine forest land is privately owned, but few forest owners currently participate in carbon markets due to the up-front costs and uncertainty about rules and requirements,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). “Today I’m introducing the Rural Forest Markets Act to support projects that will help Maine’s family forest owners tap into carbon markets. This bill will create an economic incentive for climate-friendly management of Maine’s forests and make sure we protect lands that are the environmental and economic backbone of our rural communities.”
 
More information about the bill can be found here.