Bill Text: IL HB4155 | 2023-2024 | 103rd General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Creates the Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office Act. Establishes the Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office. Provides that the Office may provide voluntary technical assistance, nonregulatory programs, and incentives, including grants, that increase the ability to anticipate, prepare for, mitigate, adapt to, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to drought or the climate. Provides that the Director of Agriculture may promulgate rules necessary for the administration of the Office's assistance, programs, and incentives, including grants. Requires the Director or the Director's designee to conduct a study to examine greenhouse gas reduction and carbon sequestration opportunities in the agricultural sector and in agricultural land management in the State. Includes provisions regarding Office assistance, programs, and incentives; grants; a greenhouse gas offset program; rules; and other Office studies. Defines terms. Effective immediately.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2023-10-18 - Referred to Rules Committee [HB4155 Detail]

Download: Illinois-2023-HB4155-Introduced.html

103RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2023 and 2024
HB4155

Introduced , by Rep. Sonya M. Harper

SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
New Act

Creates the Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office Act. Establishes the Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office. Provides that the Office may provide voluntary technical assistance, nonregulatory programs, and incentives, including grants, that increase the ability to anticipate, prepare for, mitigate, adapt to, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to drought or the climate. Provides that the Director of Agriculture may promulgate rules necessary for the administration of the Office's assistance, programs, and incentives, including grants. Requires the Director or the Director's designee to conduct a study to examine greenhouse gas reduction and carbon sequestration opportunities in the agricultural sector and in agricultural land management in the State. Includes provisions regarding Office assistance, programs, and incentives; grants; a greenhouse gas offset program; rules; and other Office studies. Defines terms. Effective immediately.
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A BILL FOR

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1 AN ACT concerning State government.
2 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4 Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office Act.
6 Section 5. Findings. The General Assembly finds that
7creating a Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience Office
8can best address and mitigate agricultural climate-related
9issues on a wide scale by providing support to and assisting
10bona fide agricultural producers in implementing practices
11that minimize the impacts of climate change.
12 Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
13 "Agrivoltaics" means one or more solar energy generation
14facility directly integrated with agricultural activities,
15including crop production, grazing, animal husbandry,
16apiaries, cover cropping, or production of agricultural
17commodities for sale in the retail or wholesale market.
18 "Anaerobic digester" means a sealed, oxygen-free tank into
19which feedstock, such as food waste, animal manure, or
20wastewater sludge, is placed for anaerobic digestion by
21microorganisms.
22 "Bona fide agricultural producer" means an agricultural

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1producer that receives a majority of the producer's annual
2income from agriculture, an agricultural producer that spends
3more than 1,040 hours per year engaged in agricultural
4production, or an Illinois business that processes
5agricultural products and solutions from the solar energy
6development industry on providing feasible solutions for
7producing electricity on agricultural lands while contributing
8ecological and agricultural benefits.
9 "Department" means the Department of Agriculture.
10 "Disproportionately impacted area" means a census tract or
11comparable geographic area that satisfies the following
12criteria, as determined by the Department of Commerce and
13Economic Opportunity that meets one or more of the following
14criteria:
15 (1) at least 20% of households in the area fall below
16 the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal
17 Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
18 Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2);
19 (2) 75% or more of the children in the area
20 participate in the National School Lunch Program according
21 to reported statistics from the State Board of Education;
22 (3) at least 20% of the households in the area receive
23 assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
24 Program; or
25 (4) the area has an average unemployment rate, as
26 determined by the Illinois Department of Employment

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1 Security, that is more than 120% of the national
2 unemployment, as determined by the United States
3 Department of Labor, for a period of at least 2
4 consecutive calendar years preceding the date of when rule
5 goes into effect.
6 "Dry digester" means an anaerobic digester that processes
7feedstock with a low moisture content.
8 "Floatovoltaics" means one or more solar energy generation
9facilities placed over, near, or floating on irrigation canals
10or reservoirs.
11 "Office" means the Agricultural Drought and Climate
12Resilience Office created in this Act.
13 "Solar energy device" means a device or a structural
14design feature of a structure that provides for the collection
15of sunlight and that comprises part of a system for the
16conversion of the sun's radiant energy into thermal, chemical,
17mechanical, or electrical energy.
18 "Solar energy facility" means a facility that uses real
19and personal property, including, but not limited to, one or
20more solar energy devices, agrivoltaics, float leaseholds, and
21easements, to generate and deliver to the interconnection
22meter any source of electrical, thermal, or mechanical energy
23in excess of 2 megawatts by harnessing the radiant energy of
24the sun, including any connected device for which the primary
25purpose is to store energy, and that is not primarily designed
26to supply electricity for consumption on site.

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1 Section 15. Agricultural Drought and Climate Resilience
2Office; creation.
3 There is created in the Department the Agricultural
4Drought and Climate Resilience Office. The Office may provide
5voluntary technical assistance, nonregulatory programs, and
6incentives, including grants, that increase the ability to
7anticipate, prepare for, mitigate, adapt to, and respond to
8hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to drought
9or the climate. The Office shall advise the Director of
10Agriculture, other State agencies, and the Governor on the
11impact to agriculture of drought and climate policies and
12programs. The Director shall appoint the head of the Office.
13 Section 20. Assistance, programs, and incentives; rules.
14 (a) The Department shall adopt rules for the
15administration of the Office's assistance, programs, and
16incentives, including grants. Before adopting the rules, the
17Director shall convene a stakeholder group, including
18representatives of organizations whose membership consists of
19agricultural producers engaged in the production of the top 10
20agricultural commodities produced in Illinois, members of the
21Department of Natural Resources Conservation Reserve
22Enhancement Program, and representatives of the solar energy
23development industry. The stakeholder group shall advise the
24Director as to the needs of the agriculture industry to

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1respond to and mitigate the impacts of climate change on
2agricultural production.
3 (b) Except for a program, assistance, incentive, or
4support administered by the Office to address immediate needs
5as a result of disaster, including wildfire and drought, a
6program, assistance, incentive, or support administered by the
7Office must include new or ongoing demonstration or research
8projects to demonstrate or study the use of agrivoltaics to:
9 (1) help prepare for and mitigate the impacts that
10 climate change or drought have on agriculture;
11 (2) reduce energy costs in agriculture;
12 (3) improve the economic resilience of agricultural
13 producers;
14 (4) minimize negative environmental impacts of
15 photovoltaic energy production facilities on soil health,
16 native vegetation, State and federal listed species,
17 wildlife migration corridors, and the species, habitats,
18 and ecosystems that are of the greatest conservation need;
19 and
20 (5) provide other statewide environmental benefits, as
21 identified by the Office.
22 (c) In awarding grants, the Office shall give preference
23to grant applications that propose using grant money to
24conduct a new or ongoing demonstration or research project as
25a means to study the potential, benefits, and tradeoffs of
26agrivoltaics in the State.

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1 Any agrivoltaic study awarded as a grant pursuant to this
2Section must include findings on the additional costs,
3including the additional capital and ongoing maintenance
4costs, for the use of agrivoltaics as compared to traditional
5photovoltaics. The additional costs must be quantified on both
6a dollar-per-megawatt and a dollar-per-megawatt-hour basis.
7 Grants awarded by the Office must pay for implementation
8of practices to address and mitigate the impacts of climate
9change or drought on agriculture or provide direct adaptation
10support for impacted agricultural communities, including
11mental health resources, conflict resolution assistance, and
12risk-management guidance. A grant award may pay no more than
135% of administrative expenses incurred by an agricultural
14producer to implement the practices.
15 (d) The Office shall, at least 30 days before opening the
16grant application process, make available, on its website or
17the Department's website, information related to the grant
18program agricultural producers.
19 (e) A grant authorized pursuant to this Section must
20receive final approval by the head of the Office before a final
21award can be issued.
22 (f) The Office shall post on its website or the
23Department's website all applications for grant awards. Within
2415 days after awarding a grant, the Office shall post on its
25website or the Department's website the name of the individual
26or entity receiving a grant, the amount of the grant awarded,

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1the project or projects to be funded by the grant, and the
2duration of the grant award.
3 Section 25. Greenhouse gas reduction and carbon
4sequestration study; greenhouse gas offset program.
5 (a) The Director or the Director's designee shall conduct
6a study to examine greenhouse gas reduction and carbon
7sequestration opportunities in the agricultural sector and in
8agricultural land management in the State, including:
9 (1) soil health management practices, including cover
10 cropping, manure management, soil amendments, rotational
11 grazing, rangeland management, low-till and no-till
12 practices, and hedge grows;
13 (2) the use of dry digesters; and
14 (3) the potential for creating and offering a
15 certified greenhouse gas offset program and credit
16 instruments to provide fungible greenhouse gas offsets for
17 agricultural producers and in agricultural land
18 management.
19 The Director or Director's designee shall conduct the
20study in consultation with the Illinois Environmental
21Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Natural
22Resources and an institution of higher education with
23expertise in climate change mitigation, adaptation benefits,
24and other environmental benefits related to agricultural
25research.

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1 The study must identify policy mechanisms to avoid the
2impacts that the use of greenhouse gas offsets by regulated
3sources could have on disproportionately impacted areas.
4 The Director or the Director's designee shall submit to
5the General Assembly:
6 (1) a report summarizing the progress on the study on
7 or before October 1, 2024; and
8 (2) a final report on the study on or before October 1,
9 2025. The final report must include any legislative,
10 regulatory, or other recommendations for designing and
11 implementing greenhouse gas reduction and carbon
12 sequestration opportunities for the agricultural sector
13 and in agricultural land management in the State.
14 (b) After conclusion of the study under subsection (a),
15the Office may create a certified greenhouse gas offset
16program. Credit instruments offered under the program must
17reflect real, additional, quantifiable, permanent, verifiable,
18and enforceable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that
19are equivalent to the offsets provided and must not require
20agricultural producers' participation.
21 Greenhouse gas offsets developed for agricultural
22producers and in agricultural land management may be used as
23compliance instruments with the emission reduction obligations
24established by the Bureau of Air to ensure that the annual,
25overall, absolute emissions from the source, sector, or group
26of sources decline consistent with the statewide greenhouse

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1gas emission reduction goals; except that, if the source is
2located in a disproportionately impacted area, the Department
3shall establish by rule an annual, absolute emission reduction
4obligation specific to the source.
5 Section 30. Post-Study Rules.
6 (a) Upon conclusion of the study conducted under Section
725, with regard to any recommendations in the study that do not
8require legislative changes, the Department may adopt joint
9rules with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's
10Office of Energy and the Illinois Pollution Control Board, may
11adopt rules to implement the recommendations. Any rules
12adopted pursuant to this subsection may not mandate
13participation by agricultural producers in any greenhouse gas
14offset program or any other greenhouse gas reduction and
15carbon sequestration programs or mechanisms developed in rule,
16but the rules may provide incentives to agricultural producers
17for the producer's voluntary participation in a program or
18mechanism developed in rule pursuant to this subsection and
19establish procedures for coordination with other states.
20 (b) Nothing in this Section requires the adoption of rules
21for greenhouse gas emission offsets or credit mechanisms or to
22accept any greenhouse gas emission offsets or credit
23mechanisms as compliance instruments for emission reduction
24compliance or verification.

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1 Section 35. Other studies. The Office shall also conduct
2the following studies:
3 (1) A study examining the effectiveness of grants
4 awarded pursuant to Section 15.
5 (2) A feasibility study that examines the use of
6 floatovoltaics in State waterways.
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