“Conservation” and “coal” haven’t exactly gone hand in hand over the years, but that could be changing. The Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, Inc. (VCLF), which controls over 30,000 acres of conservation land, including the Natural Bridge of Virginia, has entered into an agreement for the purchase of certain assets of Patriot Coal Corporation in West Virginia.
Through its affiliate, ERP Compliant Fuels, LLC (ERP), VCLF, its management, and other shareholders will seek regulatory approval to transfer 153 mining permits and purchase related equipment, processing facilities, and other collateral. ERP will operate the “Federal Mining Complex” in northern West Virginia while VCLF focuses on reclaiming land and improving water quality in the states of West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
ERP intends to sell “compliant fuels,” which bundle carbon credits with coal sales to produce a “compliance instrument,” effectively reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Virginia-based Green-Trees, which has reforested over 100,000 acres in the Mississippi Alluvial Delta generating over 12 million tons of carbon dioxide emission offsets, will act as VCLF’s exclusive carbon partner.
This purchase and partnership may very well open up opportunities for landowners in West Virginia and Virginia by jump starting the market into which they can sell carbon credits generated through the reforestation of marginal agriculture or pasture land.
“It creates an instant demand pool,” said Chandler Van Voorhis, Managing Partner at Green-Trees. “It will deepen and broaden the market.”
This very well could be the boost the voluntary carbon market needed.
This article was written by Field Sport Concepts friend and colleague Tee Clarkson. Tee is an outdoor writer from Virginia, runs outdoor programs for youth throughout the country and abroad at Virginia Outside, and works in land preservation and carbon sequestering at Atoka Conservation Exchange, LLC.
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