A bill on carbon sequestration that has been opposed by farm groups has now gained an unusual ally. Republican Asm. Devon Mathis of Visalia this week asked to be a joint author on the measure.

Mathis acknowledged he would “probably upset some of (his) agricultural friends” by doing so. But he wanted to ensure incentive dollars would be attached to the effort. The bill would charge the Air Resources Board (CARB) with establishing climate goals for the state’s natural and working lands.

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The California Farm Bureau was also concerned about unstable incentives funding to meet the goals. And it worried CARB would not be able to account for all the future impacts that could limit agriculture's carbon capturing capacity. This includes the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The California Climate and Agriculture Network countered that these arguments only delay climate solutions. CalChamber criticized the bill for focusing too narrowly on an industry that contributes just 9% of the nation’s emissions.

Mathis said he wanted to see “fundable action that ensures that our agricultural partners can actually do these things.”