USDA, Not EPA, Would Oversee Carbon Credits on Farms Under Federal Compromise

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On our program this week, I talked about how no-till agriculture ties into state and federal incentives. Today, U.S. House Democrats are expecting victory on the federal Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill. A sticking point in the House Ag committee was that Democratic chairman Collin Peterson didn't want the Environmental Protection Agency to oversee rewards to farmers for sequestering carbon through practices like not tilling -- i.e., plowing. Now, the USDA would oversee such credits.'s food editor Tom Philpott has been following all of this very closely and his posts are worth reading. He quotes Meredith Niles, coordinator of the Cool Foods campaign for the Center for Food Safety: ìthe USDAís mission statement is to promote U.S. agriculture. The EPAís is to protect the environment. It makes no sense for the USDA to run such a critical environmental program.î
The bill faces what The Washington Post calls an uphill battle in the Senate, likely to be fought out in the fall.