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Yesterday, Representatives Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04) and Mike Lawler (R-NY-17) introduced the bipartisan Coordination for Soil Carbon Research and Monitoring Act to empower the federal government to support interagency work around soil carbon sequestration research and monitoring. 

Soil carbon sequestration, also known as "carbon farming" or "regenerative agriculture," refers to land management processes to promote the absorption of carbon into soil. Experts estimate that soil could store almost 5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide worldwide each year. The Coordination for Soil Carbon Research and Monitoring Act would streamline existing federal efforts around soil carbon sequestration and close gaps in research and monitoring. 

"As I said when I joined Eric Sorensen (D-IL-17) in introducing the Advancing Research on Agricultural Climate Impacts Act this summer to fund research into carbon sequestration, this innovative new process has the win-win of increasing farm production while reducing our carbon footprint," said Congressman Lawler. "The Coordination for Soil Carbon Research and Monitoring Act will enable us to unleash this new technology, surge our food production, and leave a cleaner world for our children and grandchildren."

"Agriculture is the largest private industry in our Commonwealth, and farmers are feeling the effects of climate change more often and more severely. Extreme droughts, floods, wildfires, and heat waves pose significant challenges to the agriculture industry, and they will continue to intensify without urgent action," said Congresswoman McClellan. "I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Coordination for Soil Carbon Research and Monitoring Act to ensure we properly harness the full potential of soil carbon sequestration in our continued fight against the climate crisis." 

The Coordination for Soil Carbon Research and Monitoring Act:

  • Establishes an Interagency Committee on Soil Carbon Research led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
  • Directs the interagency Committee to develop a cross-agency strategic plan for federal research, development, and deployment regarding soil carbon sequestration sampling and measurement methodologies, measurement and monitoring technologies, and community needs.
  • Establishes working groups to coordinate soil carbon research priorities including Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV), data collection and management, fundamental research, and community engagement. 
  • Requires regular reporting to Congress on soil carbon sequestration research and monitoring activities.

"Interest in rewarding farmers for soil carbon gains is on the rise—but that’s undercut by a lack of tools to accurately measure and track soil carbon outcomes. In order to unlock the full potential of soil carbon in the US, and get money into the hands of farmers, we need a coordinated, large-scale effort across federal agencies to advance research and monitoring.  Coordination for Soil Carbon Research and Monitoring Act addresses those gaps head-on; only an effort of this scale can lay the necessary foundation to inform science-based carbon incentives," said Cristel Zoebisch, Deputy Director of Policy, Carbon180. "We applaud Representatives McClellan and Lawler’s vision for actualizing soil carbon sequestration in an equitable and evidence-based way—and for creating a roadmap for the federal government, the private sector, universities, technical service providers, and producers to come together to advance research for agricultural climate action. "

"BPC Action applauds the bipartisan leadership of Reps. Jennifer McClellan (D-VA) and Mike Lawler (R-NY) on efforts to enhance soil health interagency research and coordination that can bolster agricultural productivity and climate resiliency, and farmer income," said Michele Stockwell, President of BPC Action. "The Coordination for Soil Carbon Research and Monitoring Act will provide the building blocks needed to coordinate cross-cutting priorities on soil carbon research including monitoring, reporting, and verification, data collection and management, and fundamental research regarding soil dynamics. This research will help the U.S. agriculture sector better understand how to increase soil health and enhance farming practices to boost the natural processes of capturing carbon dioxide and storing it in soils."

New York's 17th Congressional District is just north of New York City and contains all or parts of Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester Counties.