Airport pursues sale of Martis carbon credits | SierraSun.com

Airport pursues sale of Martis carbon credits

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Truckee Tahoe Airport hasn’t yet decided to sell carbon credits from Waddle Ranch in the Martis Valley, but district board members want to know how many credits they could sell from the property.

At the April 24 meeting, the airport board voted to take the first step towards selling carbon credits from the recently preserved Martis Valley land ” finding out how much carbon storage it has.

Carbon sequestration is the intake and long-term storage of carbon by plants to reduce the slow build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Taking advantage of that natural process, a growing business sells credits for that stored carbon, allowing polluters to offset the greenhouse gases they create, and in theory, slow the climate change those gases cause.

“This iteration of the idea is a more incremental approach; first we do the inventory, then we decide if we want to move forward and take the next step taking with interested buyers,” said Dave Parsons, executive assistant at the airport.

One forester offered to both perform the carbon inventory and create a forest management plan ” something the airport will be responsible for anyway, Parsons said.

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The new approach came about after board members expressed concerns over the financial uncertainty of such a new market at a meeting in March, when a 100-year requirement was laid out in front of them.

“This has nothing to do with if I agree with carbon sequestration or not, it’s a venture capital deal,” said Kathleen Eagan, airport board member.

But one member of the Airport Community Advisory Team still had reservations about selling carbon credits.

“If we do nothing, the carbon is sequestered,” said Andrew Terry. “It’s a feel-good, it’s not saving the planet, it’s enhancing the ability to pollute the planet.”

But in talking to would-be customers, Airport General Manager Dave Gotschall said that isn’t the case.

“The potential buyer is not buying them [carbon credits] to allow them to continue to pollute, they’re buying them for their customers,” Gotschall said.

Betony Jones, director of program development at the Sierra Business Council, said buyers are more likely people or businesses trying to do everything they can to help the environment, rather than justifying polluting practices.