Sen. Sue Glick (R-Lagrange), along with 12 co-authors, introduced Senate Bill 373 that would encourage farmers and woodland owners to participate in markets for the sale of carbon offsets, and also expand investment in new public forestland, by providing new opportunities for private investors to buy Indiana-generated carbon offsets. The bill does three things:
- Creates a new revenue source — the sale of carbon offsets — generated by new forestland acquisition by the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust (Indiana’s leading public lands protection program that buys and protects carbon-sequestering forests and other natural lands)
- Creates a new revenue source — the sale of carbon offsets — for Clean Water Indiana (state program that promotes carbon-sequestering soil health practices in farming)
- Creates a climate-friendly farming and forestry practices technical assistance and verification program within the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
SB 373 passed the State Senate in a bipartisan vote on February 22nd.
SB 373 was amended in the House of Representatives, and passed 65 to 30 on April 13th, although in substantially altered form. The Senate language was replaced by a provision requiring the Indiana DNR and Indiana State Department of Agriculture to study carbon markets in coordination with stakeholders. The House added two other amendments — one a very controversial provision providing liability protection for a carbon dioxide geologic sequestration project planned by Wabash Valley Resources at a site in Vigo County.
After bill author Sen. Glick removed the Wabash Valley provision in conference committee, the House majority refused to sign the conference report, killing the bill. Sponsors of the Wabash Valley language sought to add the amendment to another bill in the final days of session, but were unsuccessful.
Despite the bill’s demise, both DNR and ISDA have committed to proceed with a study of carbon markets in Indiana.