Panel OKs Oklahoma Carbon Sequestration Enhancement Act

Article excerpt

A House committee passed a version of the "Oklahoma Carbon Sequestration Enhancement Act" Thursday that expands the concept of trading carbon emission credits to include both agricultural and nonagricultural land.

The new draft of House Bill 1192, by Rep. Clay Pope, D-Loyal, also changes the term "greenhouse emissions" to "carbon dioxide emissions."

Other language in the bill regarding recommendations the new Carbon Sequestration Advisory Committee could make is also revised.

Pope said the committee substitute is intended to eliminate the possibility of any crossover of jurisdiction among regulatory agencies. He said the Oklahoma Conservation Commission would certify "best practices" for purposes of calculating carbon credits.

Currently identified best practices involve substitution of plowing by reduced tillage; increased use of legumes such as alfalfa, clover, and soybeans in rotation, and returning animal wastes to the soil.

Pope's bill would establish a system of trading or marketing credits to reduce the accumulation of carbon dioxide. The concept is an outgrowth of the international Kyoto Accord that calls for limiting atmospheric emissions, including carbon dioxide.

"It's a way for industry to work with farmers and other producers to take carbon out of the atmosphere," Pope told the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

He stressed that participating would be voluntary.

The bill calls for establishing a carbon sequestration market. Consumers of fossil fuels such as utilities and industries would pay farmers and others who can sequester carbon for the right to put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

"I think a bill like this really puts us ahead of the curve," said Pope.

The panel also passed House Bill 1237, by Rep. Jack Begley, D- Goodwell.

Begley's measure modifies the term "camp or recreational site," for purposes of limiting water permits for swine-feeding operations, to include only outdoor camps and recreational sites where camping and recreational use is available to and regularly used by the general public at least six months of each calendar year.

The bill changes language placed into the law to prohibit locating swine facilities within three miles of a recreational site. …