Carbon project on line for this fall

The tribes’ carbon sequestration project is making steady progress, with September being the target for marketing and selling the credits.

Payment to the tribes could be expected about 30 days after the sale is finalized, said Don Sampson, Warm Springs Ventures chief executive officer.

Warm Springs is the first tribe to use reservation forest land for the marketing of carbon sequestration credits. Other tribes have used non-reservation land for this purpose.

Revenue from the Warm Springs project could be in the range of $9 million. After costs, such as for forest management, the net revenue to the tribes is estimated at $5.5 million, Mr. Sampson said.

This is a one-time payment for the acreage, which will be managed to maximize carbon sequestration through forest growth. This is conditional use land, not involving timber for harvest. The duration of the agreement is 100 years.

Mr. Sampson and tribal attorney Ellen Grover updated the Tribal Council on the project last week.

The idea for carbon sequestration on the reservation first came up about four years ago, when a study indicated the reservation has a high potential for a successful project.

At Tribal Council direction, GeoVisions-Ventures and the Branch of Natural Resources made a study and inventory of the resource, and the carbon sequestration market.

The decision was to include 24,050 acres of tribal land in the sequestration area. Part of this burned last year, leaving the acreage at about 22,200 acres.

California law sets a cap on the amount of carbon emissions that a company can produce during the year.

A company can be fined for exceeding the maximum emission amount. The companies, oil refineries, for instance, can also purchase carbon sequestration credits. The credits then allow the company legally to exceed the emission maximum.

The credits represent the amount of carbon that would have been released into the atmosphere were it not for a particular management practice.

The tribal forest management plan for the 2,200 acres coincides with the practices called for by the carbon sequestration credit program. This was an important factor in why the Tribal Council approved the project.

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