Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Agriculture and the American Power Act

It has been a while since I posted something here, but then, it has been a while since anything new related to energy and agriculture has grabbed my attention. That all changed today with the release of the American Power Act, proposed by Senators John F. Kerry and Joseph I. Lieberman.

The bill has a number of agriculture-related provisions. Here, in my view, are some of the most relevant ones:
  • Title II, Global Warming Pollution Reduction, section 2001 amends the Clean Air Act: Section 734 provides several opportunities for offset credit programs designed to reduce domestic carbon emissions. Possible project types (to be considered by a newly created Advisory Board) include “agricultural, grassland, and rangeland sequestration and management practices” and “changes in carbon stocks attributed to land use change and forestry activities.”
  • Section 2001 also amends the Clean Air Act with section 741 requires the Secretary of Agriculture to assess the amount of agricultural land removed from agricultural production as part of landowners’ participation in “afforestation projects” under any offset program created by the Act, including periodic evaluation and updating of the program.
  • Title VIII of the Clean Air Act would also be amended to require an “annual accounting of sequestration and emissions of greenhouse gases from forests and forest products.”
  • Section 2214 of the American Power Act, under the “Achieving Fast Mitigation” portion of the bill related to “Black Carbon,” seeks enhanced soil sequestration and, to that end, will provide “grants to up to 60 facilities to conduct research, develop, demonstrate and deploy biochar production technology for the purpose of sequestering carbon.”
  • Subtitle E of the Act, which provides for regulation of greenhouse gas markets, amends the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) to regulate greenhouse gas instruments in the same manner as agricultural commodities, under section 2403 (labeled “swap transactions”).
  • Clean Energy Jobs are promoted in Title IV, Subtitle B, Part III, Agriculture. This section adds a “Carbon conservation program,” which would establish “a program for investing in agriculture and forestry projects to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions” (Section 4152). It was would also create a “Carbon conservation fund” in the Treasury to carry out this part of the bill (Section 4153).
Notwithstanding (and perhaps because of) significant and broad ranging support, my first impression is that this bill says a lot, but isn't likely to do very much. Perhaps I'm being too cynical and a little additional reflection (and deeper analysis) will change that impression.


Post a Comment

<< Home