From My Desk

Cap and Trade Legislation is Irresponsible at Best

FoutzHR 2454, the Waxman/Markey global warming bill, is a sweeping measure that will have a negative impact on agriculture as well as the U.S. economy as a whole. The international economic disadvantage inherent in this legislation poses a real threat to the stability of our nation.

Agriculture is one of the few U.S. industries with a positive trade balance. One major factor threatening the trade balance is the proposed cap-and-trade program included in the bill. If passed, U.S. farmers and ranchers will have to absorb huge costs and comply with burdensome regulations, unlike foreign competitors who do not plan to adopt similar programs. To this date, no other food exporting countries have entertained the idea of passing similar legislation.

Any attempt at reducing carbon emissions must be a shared global responsibility, but without other major emitting countries on board, this bill merely provides an incentive to move jobs overseas. Indeed, let me remind you that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said that this measure will have “no impact on CO2 levels,” if America acts alone. And we will be acting alone. The largest global emitters of carbon, India and China have said they have no plans to reduce carbon emissions. Without them, any scheme to reduce carbon is dead on arrival.

Some groups suggest that the U.S. needs to show leadership in the fight on global warming in the run up to the December UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

But to pass this legislation with the hope that other European countries will voluntarily hamstring their economies by passing similar legislation is irresponsible at best. Thus far the European powers have shown no interest in following the U.S. lead in implementing stimulus plans to bail out our shared economies. Nor have they acquiesced to the Obama administrations request for additional help in Iraq and Afghanistan. Only very rose colored glasses would allow one to see them signing on to voluntary economic disaster a la Waxman/Markey.

This bill will increase energy costs nationwide, putting our nation at an international economic disadvantage without making any real progress toward addressing climate change. This economic disadvantage will stifle our nation’s opportunity to realize a meaningful economic recovery.

Dr. Alan Foutz
President, Colorado Farm Bureau


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