The House Energy and Power Subcommittee approved a bill Thursday that would strip EPA of its power to regulate greenhouse gases and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has promised the bill will come before the House floor within weeks.
AFBF supports H.R. 919, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, introduced by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) that would permanently eliminate EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants, refineries, farms and ranches. It also overturns a finding by EPA that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare.
A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that would override EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
The American Farm Federation supports the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act, legislation introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that would pre-empt the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating stationary sources of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
AFBF President Bob Stallman wrote to Barrasso on Wednesday pledging Farm Bureau’s support of the bill. Stallman told Barrasso the regulations proposed by EPA would have serious consequences for agriculture.
According to EPA estimates, more than 37,000 farming operations (90 percent of livestock production) would be affected by the proposal, at an average cost of $23,200 per permit. Overall, this would cost the agriculture sector more than $866 million.
“In addition to these direct costs, farmers and ranchers will also feel indirect economic impacts. Costs incurred by utilities, refiners and manufacturers to comply with GHG regulations will be passed on to farmers, ranchers and other consumers in the form of higher fuel, fertilizer and energy costs,” according to Stallman.
Asserting that the Environmental Protection Agency is “implementing an aggressive regulatory program that burdens the nation’s farmers and ranchers,” delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting today urged Congress to “pursue vigorous oversight” of the agency.
They cited a recent expansion in EPA regulatory actions aimed at agriculture that ignores farmers’ and ranchers’ “positive contributions to environmental protection.”
Thomas Crocker, an economics Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is credited with the development one of the most innovative and controversial public policy proposals of our time: cap & trade.
But although he devised the idea, Crocker said in an interview with The Washington Independent that cap & trade is not the best policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, going a step further, raised questions about climate science.
As further evidence that the global warming movement has lost the battle, two rallies in support of Cap & Trade last week didn't draw crowds large enough to fill a gymnasium.
Leading environmental groups are admitting defeat in the climate change battle now that it appears Congress will not pass a climate change bill this year.
Last week, the environmental groups held two events in Wisconsin to rally support, but neither event drew enough people to fill a high school gym.
The Washington Post reports that a year ago the groups were at the peak of influence with the House narrowly passing a mammoth cap-and-trade climate change bill. But the sluggish economy and opposition from Farm Bureau and other groups now means that they have apparently lost the fight.
The President may be put into the sticky situation of having to veto a measure passed by a congress controlled by his party.
Congressional leaders are scrambling to prevent Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Resolution of Disapproval of EPA carbon regulations from passing the Senate today. Having gained the support of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a coal state Senator, the measure has a good chance at passing. Majority Leader Harry Reid granted a vote on the Murkowski legislation because it was thought to have little chance of passing in the Senate.
While the resolution would face an uphill battle in the House, its potential passage would force a presidential veto on legislation passed by a congress controlled by his own party. It would be an embarrassing moment for the administration whose priority it was to regulate carbon dioxide emissions as a way to stave off global warming.
Colorado Farm Bureau, AFBF and many other farm groups have supported the Murkowski resolution which would prevent the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions from both mobile and stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. CFB has sent letters to Sens. Udall and Bennett urging their support of the bill.
Permitting costs and fees associated with the regulation of carbon dioxide by the EPA would devastate agriculture and allied industries as well as drive up energy costs on every family in America.
Apparently the enviros, for all their nature knowledge, don't know that Polar Bears can swim!! Who knew?
File this one under “Shameless ‘Scientific’ Political Pandering”…
The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released three reports on Wednesday declaring that climate change is real and is driven mostly by human activity, chiefly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
One of the reports, “Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change,” urges the United States to set a greenhouse gas emissions “budget” that restricts overall emissions and provides a measurable goal for policymakers and for industry. The report does not explicitly recommend a cap-and-trade program, but says a system of tradeable emissions permits gives industry more flexibility in meeting an emissions target or budget.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) addressing the COP15 Global Warming Conference in Copenhagen late last year.
The Kerry-Lieberman climate change and energy bill appears to be in legislative limbo, with many senators questioning whether the measure will see the light of day this year.
The bill by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has not been formally introduced and there is no word on committee hearings.
However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he hoped to gather 59 votes by the middle of June to pass the legislation. Still, many senators say approval this year is unlikely.
“My feeling is it’s not going to be coming up this year, but if it does, I will dig into it at great depth,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told Reuters.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and 48 other farm groups have joined together in urging the Senate to adopt a resolution that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act without prior congressional approval.
Virtually all of American agriculture is united in the belief that regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be decided by Congress and not by fiat from a federal regulatory agency.
In a letter sent to members of the Senate on Tuesday, the broad coalition of agricultural groups, representing crop and livestock producers and allied industries, explained that without relief from Congress, agriculture could suffer severe economic impacts from EPA’s plan to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Sens. Kerry (D- Mass) and Liberman (D- Conn.) unveil their climate proposal to a room packed with environmentalists and industry leaders.
The much ballyhooed Kerry/Liberman climate measure may face stiff opposition.
Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced their “American Power Act,” compromise climate bill Wednesday, amid concerns about the legislation’s affect on production agriculture and the nation’s energy prices.
Industry groups and business are still assessing the content of the bill and many have not yet taken official positions. Legislative staffers for the two sponsors have only released parts of the language, with several key provisions still absent from the text.
According to sources, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) (left) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) think the Gulf oil spill will bolster their chances for success.
Sources on Capitol Hill say Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) plan to introduce their climate change and energy bill next week, without the support of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C), who was an original co-sponsor of the legislation.
In addition, Kerry and Lieberman are said to believe the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will help, rather than hurt, momentum for the legislation. Sources say the two senators believe the crisis in the gulf—which is likely to get worse before it gets better—will focus the public’s attention on the nation’s dependency on oil and facilitate the debate about reforming the energy sector.
However, the new climate bill is expected to include an expansion of offshore drilling, which is seen as a real threat to passage. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has threatened to filibuster the legislation. “If offshore drilling off the coast of the continental United States is part of it, this legislation is not going anywhere,” he said.
Al Gore, left; Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), right.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday the Gulf of Mexico oil spill should accelerate efforts to move energy legislation that boosts alternative sources. “I think, rather than slow us up, I think it [the spill] should expedite our doing energy legislation,” Reid said.
Reid said the U.S. needs “to move as rapidly as we can” on alternative energy. “I think we’re all going to back off from offshore drilling until we get a better handle of how we can make it safe,” Reid said.
However, the energy and climate bill that Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have crafted contains measures to promote wider offshore drilling, which is seen as a major obstacle to passage.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made it official Wednesday: The Senate will consider a climate change and energy bill before an immigration bill.
“I am going to move forward on energy first,” Reid said. However, the Senate’s top Democrat said he is committed to passing immigration reform this year.
Meanwhile, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have sent a draft of their new climate change bill to the Environmental Protection Agency for an economic analysis, a sign that the senators are continuing to prepare for possible floor debate even though the bill has stalled on Capitol Hill and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a key supporter of the legislation has withdrawn his support . The EPA analysis is expected to take roughly five weeks and will yield forecasts of effects such as predicted household costs.
Senator Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference dinner in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has withdrawn his support of a new climate change bill, which means the legislation won’t be unveiled today, as originally planned. Graham withdrew his support because of what he said was a “cynical political decision” by Democrats to advance immigration legislation first.
Graham said he has become convinced that Democrats have decided to push for an immigration overhaul in an effort to mobilize Hispanic voters, a key political bloc, and that only a focused effort on a climate and energy bill could ensure its passage. He said he did not see how the Senate could pass a climate and energy bill this year if Senate Democratic leaders and President Barack Obama push for immigration reform.
A study lays the blame for the unusually high ozone levels in California’s San Joaquin Valley not on dairy cow emissions that took the blame for years, but on millions of tons of fermenting cattle feed. The study was conducted by U.C. Davis researchers and funded by the USDA, California Air Resources Board and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. The research initially was intended to measure the impact of animal manure, urine and flatulence on ozone levels.
The finding further skewers the notion that lagoon emissions and cow farts lead to diminished air quality. Last week, a professor at U.C. Davis published a study challenging livestock’s contribution to global warming.
The previously unrecognized source of fermenting cattle feed is likely the reason why ozone levels have not dropped even as the region has implemented rules for emission control programs, scientists said. When the rules were made several years ago, many experts considered the region’s 2 million cows and their manure as the primary source of these gases. Under the rules the industry spent millions of dollars cleaning up barns, corrals and manure storage areas in the nation’s most productive dairy region. Now those improvements may not have needed to be made.
“What bothers me is the rush to regulate w/o having the full facts or data,” said Ray Prock, a Denair CA dairyman.
Here it comes. The long-awaited compromise bill to reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other GHG’s will be unveiled by a group of senators on April 26.
The legislation is being drafted by Democratic Senator John Kerry, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman. It is expected to face stiff opposition from lawmakers in states with economies heavily dependent on oil and coal. But backers of the legislation are optimistic that a vote on the measure could come as early as June or July.
It is still unclear what the final language will look like. An independent source told Reuters last week that the measure would prohibit the EPA from regulating CO2 emissions under the clean air act. EPA’s move to control greenhouse gases is a major concern for many Ag organizations.
It is also widely held that the measure will not include a cap and trade system like that of the House climate bill.
Growth Energy’s new television ads for ethanol received positive reviews at a “commercial premiere” event in Denver this week.
CFB’s Crystal Korrey attended the event and is excited about the ad campaign.
“This is the first ever national TV ad campaign for the ethanol industry. With simple encouraging messaging Growth Energy is helping to show the nation the need for this sensible fuel,” she said.
The campaign is entitled “America’s Fuel”. Six different 15-second commercials focus on ethanol’s benefits, including job creation, cleaner air and the strengthening of America’s national and economic security.
Growth Energy is spending two-point-five million dollars on the six month campaign, which includes major cable networks such as Fox News, CNN, HLN and MSNBC.
You can also view all the ads on You Tube.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is continuing his push to intimidate and bully those people and groups that oppose his legislative agenda.
Several weeks ago Rep. Waxman demanded that major corporations appear before the Energy and Commerce Committee to explain the write-downs to their balance sheets in the wake of the new health care reform law.
He is now going after American Farm Bureau for its opposition to his cap and trade legislation and its devastating effects on agriculture and America’s economic future.
On April 12, American Farm Bureau received a letter from Rep. Waxman (D-Calif.). The letter asks AFBF to provide to the committee “(1) All studies and analyses undertaken [by AFBF] to determine the cost or feasibility of calculating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions to EPA; and (2) any other documents which form the basis of [AFBF’s] conclusion that compliance with the EPA reporting rule would be costly and burdensome to large agricultural facilities.”
Chairman Waxman cites a letter from AFBF, dated last October, to all members of the House of Representatives urging support for language in the Interior Appropriations bill prohibiting EPA from implementing the mandatory reporting requirement. The letter from Rep. Waxman gave AFBF two weeks to comply with the request. The unusual nature of the request led Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), ranking Republican member of the Committee, to cite it in a floor speech on April 14.
“Two days ago, Chairman Waxman sent a letter to the American Farm Bureau, opening an investigation into their activities expressing their displeasure with the EPA endangerment finding and the pending cap and trade legislation in the United States Senate.
Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned when one of the premier committee chairmen of our great House of Representatives appears to be using his power to intimidate Americans from expressing their First Amendment rights to petition the Congress for redress of grievances.”
AFBF will respond to Rep. Waxman’s inquiry and will provide a copy of the response to state Farm Bureaus after it has been sent.
Climate negotiators meet in Bonn, Germany, today for the first time since the fractious Copenhagen summit, but there is little hope of forging a new legally binding United Nations deal before the end of this year.
The Bonn meeting will lay out the process for a larger and more comprehensive meeting in June, which will also be held in Bonn. The June meeting will center on developing a new negotiating instrument for talks later this year.
Additionally, a meeting of the Major Economies Forum will take place in Washington, D.C., on April 18-19. MEF is a group of 17 advanced economies who will meet to discuss a strategy for moving forward with international negotiations on climate and energy.
These meetings will set the stage for the much larger Conference of Parties meeting to be held in Mexico in December.
The accord seeks to limit world temperature rises to below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit but does not say how this will be achieved.
Opposition from farm organizations and agricultural state senators is one reason that Senate climate change legislation has stalled, according to Ben Lieberman, an energy and environment analyst with the Heritage Foundation.
“There is little doubt that legislative measures designed to address global warming would greatly burden the agricultural sector. Farming is energy intensive, and cap-and-trade bills, namely the House Waxman-Markey bill, which passed in June, and the Boxer-Kerry bill pending in the Senate, are essentially a massive tax on energy,” Lieberman said in a research report.
Global warming regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency also pose a substantial threat to American agriculture, and legislation to rein in EPA deserves serious consideration, Lieberman said.
An analysis conducted by The Heritage Foundation found that the Waxman-Markey bill would reduce farm profits by an estimated 28 percent starting in 2012, the first year the bill’s provisions take effect. Farm profits would be lowered an average of 57 percent lower through 2035.
President Barack Obama’s plan announced Wednesday to allow offshore drilling is driven largely by the politics of climate change and energy, not getting more oil and natural gas, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to the newspaper, the White House sees its new drilling plan as a way to curry favor with Republicans and moderate Democrats, whose support will be critical for comprehensive energy and climate change legislation. A small bi-partisan group of senators is quietly seeking support for a compromise cap and trade bill.
Under the new plan, Obama proposed to begin moving toward drilling off parts of the Atlantic and Alaskan coastlines—along with the Eastern Gulf of Mexico—in areas that have been off-limits to oil and gas exploration for up to three decades.
“It’s still a relatively minor amount relative to the oil and natural gas that we import,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters after the announcement. “This is not the panacea, and it’s not the answer to the issues that we face in this country.”
The Affordable Power Alliance released a report this week that shows EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions will hit minorities, middle-income families and the working poor the hardest.
The report, Potential Impact of the EPA Endangerment Finding on Low Income Groups and Minorities, reveals that proposed EPA greenhouse regulations will increase poverty among African Americans by 20 percent and among Hispanics by 22 percent. In addition, the report shows EPA regulation would reduce African American median family income by $550 annually by 2015 and Hispanic median family income by $630 by 2015.
A total of 4.9 million African American jobs and 6.5 million Hispanic jobs would be lost by 2030, the study shows. By 2030, energy costs would increase for African Americans by 33 percent and 35 percent for Hispanics, according to the study.
According to the report, gasoline and home electricity prices would increase by 50 percent by 2030. Residential gas prices would increase 75 percent and the price of coal used for electricity would increase 600 percent.
The Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency released new final rules that establish increasingly stringent fuel economy standards and much stricter greenhouse gas emission standards for 2012 through 2016 model-year vehicles.
Starting with 2012 model-year vehicles, the rules require automakers to improve fleet-wide fuel economy and reduce fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 5 percent every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established fuel economy standards that strengthen each year reaching an estimated 34.1 mpg for the combined industry-wide fleet for model-year 2016.
Because credits for air-conditioning improvements can be used to meet the EPA standards, but not the NHTSA standards, the EPA standards require that by the 2016 model-year, manufacturers must achieve a combined average vehicle emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. The EPA standard would be equivalent to 35.5 miles per gallon if all reductions came from fuel economy improvements.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a final rule Monday that will phase in greenhouse gas emissions control requirements for new and modified stationary sources such as power plants starting Jan. 2, 2011.
This rule is a key move by EPA to begin regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act. EPA’s action on Monday is a major concern of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s. AFBF vehemently opposes regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act because Congress never intended to use the act to regulate carbon dioxide.
Colorado Farm Bureau strongly backs a Senate resolution to disapprove of EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), and a companion measure in the House introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.).
“The high costs of this regulation, the unidentified environmental benefits, and the ongoing effort in Congress to decide this issue argues strongly for Congress to use its authority under the Congressional Review Act to intervene in this matter,” wrote CFB President Alan Foutz in a letter to Sen. Bennett, urging him to support the Murkowski resolution. Farm Bureau also sent letters to Colorado’s House delegation urging support of companion legislation being offered by House Ag committee Chair, Colin Peterson.
Last Monday, a professor and air quality expert at U.C. Davis told a conference of Chemists that despite often repeated claims, it is simply not scientifically accurate to blame livestock for climate change. Professor Frank Mitloehner’s study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Agronomy. It took on the oft repeated notion that CAFO meat production was somehow more carbon intensive than pasture raised beef and milk; or than a person can cut his carbon footprint by consuming less meat.
“We certainly can reduce our greenhouse-gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk… but by increasing efficient meat production in developing countries, where growing populations need more nutritious food,” Mitloehner says.
Aides to President Barack Obama met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Democratic committee leaders to map out a strategy for gaining the 60 votes needed to pass a comprehensive energy and climate change bill when lawmakers return from the April recess.
The hour-long meeting in Reid’s office Wednesday included White House legislative affairs director Phil Schiliro and Obama’s energy and climate adviser, Carol Browner. “The leader feels before he brings up a bill he wants to know he’s got a shot at getting it through,” Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said before the meeting.
Details of a new climate change bill were revealed in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill between lawmakers and industry groups on Wednesday.
Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) shared an eight-page outline of their draft legislation that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next four decades, including provisions to limit business costs while ramping up domestic production of oil, gas and nuclear power.
The bill is reported to seek greenhouse gas curbs across multiple economic sectors, with a 2020 target of reducing emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels and an 80 percent limit at midcentury. Power plant emissions would be regulated in 2012, with other major industrial sources being phased in starting in 2016.
Among the eight titles of the bill is “America’s Farmers.”
The Environmental Protection Agency continues its push to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, while opposition in Congress to the plan continues to ramp up.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington on Monday, Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator, said delaying action on climate change regulations would be bad for the economy. Jackson criticized efforts by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and others to stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. Jackson said Congress should focus on drafting a climate bill, instead of suspending the rules.
“I really think the energy of the Senate on this issue would be wonderful if it would be put toward new legislation to do something,” she said.
AFBF strongly supports legislation introduced by Murkowski and other members of Congress to stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gases without congressional approval.
Reports out of Washington indicate three key senators—John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham—are actively engaged in an overhaul of climate change legislation. And while Senator Graham has been quoted as saying that cap and trade is dead, other reports indicate the new plan won’t abandon that concept entirely.
A bill may be introduced as early as next week that will initially cover only the electric power sector. However, Reuters quotes a Senate aide as saying the public details of the plan are still “weeks away.”
Lieberman said he aims for a floor vote in late spring, after consideration of health care and financial reform. Other members of the Senate say a climate bill is not likely this year.
The bill is expected to include a tax on the carbon content of fuels, which would remove the transportation sector from proposed cap-and-trade provisions, according to the Bureau of National Affairs. The bill will likely include mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
“There’s got to be a cap because it’s all about reducing carbon emissions,” Lieberman said.
On the other side of D.C., Energy Secretary Steven Chu maintains that cap-and-trade is still alive. “It is not dead. We need a comprehensive bill. We would very much want and need it this year,” Chu told Bloomberg TV.
EPA will delay subjecting large greenhouse gas emitters such as power plants and crude-oil refiners to new regulations until 2011 and will raise the threshold for using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced Monday.
In a letter responding to a letter sent to her Feb. 19 by eight senators who have sought a moratorium on the regulations, Jackson said only the biggest sources of greenhouse gases would be subjected to limits before 2013. Smaller ones would not be regulated before 2016, she said.
In the letter, Jackson said one result of EPA’s “endangerment finding” not being enacted would be the prevention of EPA issuing its greenhouse gas standard for light-duty vehicles, because the endangerment finding is a legal prerequisite of that standard.
“The impacts of that result would be significant,” Jackson wrote. “In particular, it would undo a historic agreement among states, automakers, the federal government and other stakeholders. California and at least thirteen other states that have adopted California’s emissions standards likely would enforce those standards within their jurisdictions, leaving the automobile industry without the explicit nationwide uniformity that it has described as important to its business.”