EPA GHG Regulations Brings ‘Double Economic Jolt’ to Ag


America’s farmers and ranchers will receive a “double economic jolt” from the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases, the American Farm Bureau Federation told a House subcommittee today.

Philip Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, testified on behalf of AFBF before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

“First, any costs incurred by utilities, refiners, manufacturers and other large emitters to comply with GHG regulatory requirements will be passed on to the consumers of those products, including farmers and ranchers,” Nelson explained. “As a result, our nation’s farmers and ranchers will have higher input costs, namely fuel and energy costs, to grow food, fiber and fuel for our nation and the world.

The Illinois farm leader said EPA’s regulations could increase fertilizer prices for farmers because the rules outline a larger role for natural gas, replacing coal and other fossil fuels. Natural gas is a principal component in fertilizer production.

Nelson said the second “jolt” to agriculture will come when regulation is fully phased in under the EPA’s “tailoring” approach, under which farms and ranches that emit, or have the potential to emit, more than 100 tons of greenhouse gases per year must obtain a Title V operating permit. Based on EPA’s numbers, he said, just the expense of obtaining permits would cost agriculture more than $866 million.

In his testimony, Nelson expressed Farm Bureau’s support for the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, one of several proposals to give Congress, rather than the EPA, the authority to address GHG regulation. Farm Bureau opposes the regulation of greenhouse gases by the EPA under the Clean Air Act.

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