Farm Groups Prevail as House Climate Bill Puts USDA in Charge of Ag Offsets
The Agriculture Department will have the lead role in overseeing agriculture offsets under the House climate bill, a major victory for farm groups that pushed lawmakers to take the lead away from U.S. EPA and a defeat for environmental groups that fear the agriculture agency may be too lax in oversight.
As part of the agreement reached last night, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) agreed to shift agency oversight for carbon offset programs, projects that would indirectly cut emissions of heat-trapping gases.
The deal puts USDA in charge of programs that would pay farmers and other landowners to conduct the environmentally friendly projects. Waxman said he would seek guidance from the Obama administration to figure out "an appropriate role" for EPA to play in the program.