Forest Advocate: Legislative Update on Forest Carbon Market bills

Matt Leahy | April 29, 2024
Lilacs bloom outside the State House.

The New Hampshire Legislature has been considering three bills this session intended to address concerns about the forest carbon markets.

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 House of Representatives voted this bill “Inexpedient to Legislate” and therefore it will receive no further actionThe Forest Society opposed this bill

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 later amended the bill to 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, supported by the Forest Society, passed the full House of Representatives, but the Senate Energy and Resources Committee voted it as "Inexpedient to Legislate." We expect the full Senate will vote the bill ITL which will end consideration of the bill this session. 

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 located 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.

The Forest Society supported the amended version of the bill. The House of Representatives approved the bill by a vote of 356-10 on February 10. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved it by a vote of 4-0. 


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