Carbon Sequestration Certification Program
The Oklahoma Carbon Program encourages Oklahomans to voluntarily protect water quality, prevent soil erosion, and improve air quality by adopting conservation practices that sequester or avoid emissions of greenhouse gases. By developing a program that combines research, natural resource protection, and state-backed verification of carbon offsets, Oklahoma has a model, voluntary program that strives to maximize the quality of offsets from agriculture, forestry, and geologic sequestration.
This is unique because it is a model different from mandatory cap and trade systems. By overlapping existing conservation programs offered by state and federal agencies, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the program capitalizes on the existing infrastructure of agencies that agricultural producers know and trust.
The Program offers fee-based verification of carbon offsets to participating aggregators who hold carbon contracts with agriculture producers and forest landowners. Verification is also provided to oil and gas companies injecting CO2 underground. As a part of its development and growth, the program is participating in several projects with federal, state, and private partners.
The Oklahoma Carbon Program continues to explore policies, methods, and standards that are based in science, reasonable to implement, and achievable by producers willing to voluntarily commit to improved management practices that result in greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration and other ecosystem service benefits. While all carbon market programs must strive to assure that their systems are based on sound science and create positive, verifiable benefits, we feel it is imperative that they also be user-friendly, both for those attempting to secure offsets and for those who are willing to engage in best management practices that result in carbon sequestration and an overall reduction in GHG in the atmosphere.
The Program was developed with assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2010 Conservation Innovation Grant. Support was also provided by Touchstone Energy via Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Forestry Services, participating Oklahoma Conservation Districts, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For background information, see the legislation and rules page.