Forest Advocate: Legislative Update on Forest Carbon Market Bills

Matt Leahy | February 27, 2024
The forest outside the Conservation Center in winter.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has been debating three bills intended to address concerns about the forest carbon markets (see fact sheets here and here). All three have received votes in recent weeks.

House Bill HB 1484 proposed to exclude from the Current Use Program any forest land which has been enrolled in a forest carbon program.  The Forest Society opposed this bill. The House of Representatives voted this bill “Inexpedient to Legislate." The bill will receive no further action.   

House Bill 1709 originally proposed to establish a new tax on land enrolled in a carbon market. The Forest Society opposed this bill. The House Committee on Resources, Recreation and Development amended the bill so that it now will set-up a study commission to look into the effect of forest carbon programs on local tax revenue and the legacy timber industry.

The amended version passed the Committee on February 14 by a vote of 18-2.

House Bill 1697 originally proposed to suspend New Hampshire's participation in emissions reduction credit programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Program (RGGI). It was then amended to set-up a public registry listing forest lands that are enrolled in a forest carbon market. It also directed the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) to study the issues related to lost timber tax revenue as a result of forest lands located being enrolled in carbon credit offset programs and to provide to the Legislature any recommendations for proposed legislation to address this issue.

HB 1697 passed the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee by a vote of 20-0.