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Farm Bureau concerned about EPA’s greenhouse gas findings
Buckeye Farm News
Farm Bureau is “deeply concerned” about the impact of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s finding about greenhouse gases.
The EPA recently published a proposed finding that current and projected concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere endanger public health and welfare. The EPA said combined emissions of GHG from new motor vehicles and engines “cause and contribute” to the problem. The EPA’s findings were for on-road vehicles.
“Clearly the EPA is mounting pressure on Congress to address the issue. They are releasing these statements to try to provoke Congress to act,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau’s senior director of legislative and regulatory policy. “Our policy is that we oppose greenhouse gases being regulated under the Clean Air Act.”
Regulation of GHG under the Clean Air Act would have serious adverse impacts for agriculture, said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman.
“U.S. agriculture would be hard hit,” Stallman said. “Many agriculture facilities would be subject to permit requirements for structure construction or modification.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, any agricultural operation of more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle, 200 hogs or 500 acres of corn would be subject to emission fees. AFBF calculates it would cost farmers and ranchers $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per beef cow and $21.87 per hog and affect more than 90 percent of the livestock industry. The additional cost could put some ag operations out of business, Stallman said.
“This announcement is a slippery slope for agriculture,” he said. “Traditionally, farmers are price ‘takers,’ not price ‘makers,’ and most farmers will be simply unable to pass along such costs.”
AFBF plans to comment about the EPA’s endangerment finding, which would require the agency to issue emissions limits on six greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydroflurocarbons, perfluocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – from new and modified stationary sources, as well as mobile sources, such as cars and light trucks.
The U.S. House is expected to have a GHG bill ready by the August recess with the Senate taking it up in the fall, Sharp said. The Obama administration has said it wants to have a bill completed by the end of the year.
“I think there’s a pretty good chance that a greenhouse gas bill will work its way through Congress,” Sharp said. “It’s too early to say when that might happen or what the bill will look like in the end.”