A Senate DFL bill received its first hearing this week, in the Senate committee on Mining and Forestry. The legislation would require the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources to establish goals for increasing carbon sequestration in public and private forests in the state. It would also provide funding for responding to the impacts of emerald ash borer on the state’s ash trees, which are estimated to be a total of roughly 1 billion trees in the state’s forests.
Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide to prevent the gasses from entering the Earth’s atmosphere. In this instance, trees would capture the CO2 through photosynthesis and store it in tree trunks, branches, roots, and soil. Reforestation is considered one of the top methods to removing carbon from the atmosphere and helping to mitigate the effects of the impending climate crisis. Replacing and expanding Minnesota’s tree coverage is going to have to be a top priority in coming years, especially as the state is projected to lose most, if not all, of its ash trees to emerald ash borer.
The bill was passed out of committee with bipartisan support and will be heard next in the Environment Finance committee, where it will be considered for inclusion in a broader environment omnibus bill.