WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today released the following opening statement at the business meeting to consider S. 1251, Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021. Live video of the meeting is available here.
Stabenow’s statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:
I call this business meeting to order to consider S. 1251, Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021. Seeing that a quorum is now present, the Committee will proceed to consideration of S. 1251. It is my great pleasure to announce that today, on Earth Day, the Committee will consider the Growing Climate Solutions Act.
This bipartisan bill has strong support from over 40 Senate Republicans and Democrats, and more than 70 leading environmental and, agricultural organizations. This commonsense legislation will create a structure at the USDA to help farmers and foresters address the climate crisis and tap into new economic opportunities. Producers know better than anyone that the climate crisis is having a dramatic impact on their farms and forests. They are also a key part of addressing this crisis.
The Growing Climate Solutions Act helps farmers and foresters implement voluntary climate-smart practices and turn their good stewardship into income through carbon markets. Our 2021 bill makes improvements to ensure the benefits reach beginning farmers and underserved producers.
We also provided $4.1 million to quickly begin this program at USDA. And we added more farmers and foresters to the advisory board, including farmers of color, to make sure producer input is heard.
We’re going to continue to work with all stakeholders – including those farmers and frontline communities who have historically been left out of the climate discussion – to ensure that this bill addresses their needs as it moves through the process and into the implementation phase. I also want to enter into the record a letter of support from an impressive cross section of the environmental and conservation community.
While this bill is a positive first step, our work to address the climate crisis is far from finished. Creating new revenue streams through voluntary carbon markets is just one tool in the toolbox. We also need to invest much more in existing conservation programs that help our farmers protect our land, and water, and address the climate crisis. Scientists are telling us we need to act now.
Today, I am pleased that we are moving forward with meaningful action to help agriculture and forestry be leaders in creating workable solutions.