Green acres: From vacant land to revenue source
Cap-and-trade system would encourage landowners to plant trees, sell credits to businesses.
Mon, Nov 09 2009 at 11:15 AM
Photo: Editor B/Flickr
Landowners, farmers and cities struggling to make ends meet might soon have access to a new revenue source thanks to the Clean Energy Partnership Act. Under the bill, businesses not able to immediately reform their production and manufacturing practices to reduce greenhouse gases would be able to buy credits from farmers and owners of forests — places where carbon is stored and not emitted into the atmosphere.
That's big business for cities like Detroit, Mich., which currently has an estimated 40 square miles of vacant land. Such lots could be turned into green space — helping the environment and cash-strapped coffers. "We're looking at a whole array of different options," said a city spokesperson. "Planting trees could be one of those options. We need to look at everything that is out there."
Farmers also stand to benefit from the legislation, with incentives that might encourage them not to till their land or to use a methane digester to manage waste. For all projects, the EPA would certify those that are helping to reduce the amount of carbon emissions entering the atmosphere. "Agriculture practices and forestry management practices — and cutting down forests — have a huge impact on carbon emissions," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who authored the act. She hopes the Clean Energy Partnership Act is included as part of the broader climate bill currently being formed by Congress.
via Detroit News