HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009

The House just voted (219-212) to approve climate legislation, HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, and we have some good news to report. The bill that passed does include significant new opportunities for family forest owners to participate in energy and carbon markets-a goal we have been working on for nearly two years.
Thank you for all your calls and letters over the past few weeks! The improvements we won for family forest owners would not be in the bill at all if you, as constituents, hadn't been actively involved. Also important to this success was AFF's leadership in convening and driving the Forest Climate Working Group, a diverse coalition of forest stakeholders that worked together on behalf of private forests. Members of Congress took notice and we had impact as a result.
The specific improvements to HR 2454, which we together won on behalf of family forest owners, will:
  • Guarantee that forest offset market opportunities will be created for family forest owners, including working forest management projects (this wasn't so clear a few days ago).
  • Ensure USDA has the lead role in implementing the offset markets for forests (this wasn't the case just a few days ago.).
  • Ensure "early actors," family forest owners who have already taken steps to manage their properties responsibly, will be rewarded for their carbon-positive activities.
  • Allow all biomass from family forests to be used to meet the Renewable Electricity and Renewable Fuels Standards, fixing the flawed definition in the original Waxman-Markey bill and the 2007 Energy bill, while maintaining protections for sustainable forest management.
  • Allow a range of green building standards, including those that allow the use of wood from American Tree Farm System® certified forests.
In addition to the improvements in the carbon offset market provisions, the bill includes incentives for agricultural activities that sequester and store carbon. These types of incentives are important for landowners who might not otherwise be able to participate in offset markets due to the smaller size of their land. We continue to work to ensure that family forest owners gain access to incentives and other opportunities in the legislation. Our Congressional champions, Pingree (D-ME), Shuler (D-NC), Michaud (D-ME), Schrader (D-OR), Hodes (D-NH), and Shea-Porter (D-NH) should be thanked for their continued work to secure a place for forest incentives in this bill.
While tremendous progress has been made, our work is far from over. Now the bill will be considered in the Senate, starting with the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Please thank our champions over the July 4th recess (starts now and continues through July 6th) for their hard work and begin communicating with your Senators about the importance of including family forest owners in the carbon and energy markets and incentives. Without family forest owners, the nation will have a very hard time meeting both our climate and energy goals. For more information click here.
Thank you again for all your support. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like further details.
Together we are getting family forests on the policy map, highlighting the role of forests in a healthy economy and healthy communities.
Rita Neznek
Vice President, Public Affairs
American Forest Foundation

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