WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — New legislation has been introduced to U.S. Congress that focuses on creating economic opportunities for North Country forest owners.

NY-21 Congresswoman Elise Stefanik announced on Thursday she and Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, have introduced the Rural Forest Markets Act to U.S. Congress.

According to text from Congress, the Rural Forest Markets Act would aim to help small-scale family forest owners access new economic opportunities and incentivize investments in climate-forward practices, such as carbon storage.

This would primarily focus on tree planting.

Stefanik commented on how this would support owners in the North Country.

“The North Country is home to thousands of forest owners, and the forestry sector is crucial to the New York State economy,” stated Stefanik. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan and innovative legislation to incentivize climate-friendly management, provide a revenue stream to help small scale, family forest owners access new economic opportunities, and develop solutions to mitigate the climate challenges we face without burdening American taxpayers and small businesses.”

As listed in the legislation, the Rural Forest Markets Act would establish the Rural Forest Market Investment Program through the United States Department of Agriculture. This program would offer loans up to $150 million for companies to help small-scale foresters create and sell forest credits for storing carbon.

Additionally, the Act would aim to encourage forest owners to adopt practices to take carbon out of the air, create a new revenue stream for these owners and reduce financial risks in regards to these projects.

Projects eligible for this dedicated funding would include one developed by a private entity, or a publicly supported, charitable nonprofit organization.

Full text can be read on the U.S. Congress website.