State Rep. Sam Low, R-Lake Stevens, said in his recent commentary (“State needs lawmakers’ oversight on public lands’ use,” The Herald, Feb. 11) that State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz’s plans “would change course in favor of short-sighted policies that threaten jobs, education and community services.” But there are many misconceptions around carbon sequestration. Senate Bill 5688 would allow the Department of Natural Resources to increase the acreage of working forests in Washington and the money earned for schools and other beneficiaries.
At the press conference about the carbon market Commissioner Franz said the law would allow the Department of Natural Resources to sell carbon credits from forests left to sequester carbon. With the money made from the sales DNR would buy unproductive lands and restore them into working forests and buy land from folks wanting to get out of the forest industry and increase DNR’s portfolio of working forests. Swinomish Tribal Member JJ Wilbur said this is a win-win for the environment and rural economies that will receive the carbon offset revenue. Michael Mann from Clean and Prosperous WA spoke at the conference in support of the bill. He said Washington businesses want to offset their emissions. Giving DNR this tool will unlock potential in our public lands and support our schools and rural communities.
Private companies are already realizing the potential of this new market. Why wouldn’t DNR be enabled to benefit from this tool that does not affect the relationship with trust beneficiaries or cost taxpayers a dime?