Policy & Politics
Farmer Support Needed for Climate Change Bill
The Des Moines Register reported Sunday that Democrats may have to win over farmers if they want to enact controls on greenhouse gases. According to the Register, Democrats control the House, 256-178, but many of their newest, most politically vulnerable members are from rural areas, and farm groups are unhappy with key aspects of proposed legislation on climate change. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) has said he won't support the legislation unless Congress addresses the biofuel issue and restricts the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in implementing it. Rural lawmakers want to make sure growers will benefit from a cap-and-trade system and the ethanol industry wants to see changes in the way biofuels are treated in climate change legislation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, prior to the Memorial Day recess. As Congress returns, the bill will remain at the top of the agenda. The American Farm Bureau Federation remains strongly opposed to the bill. The bill has been referred to several other committees, including the Agriculture Committee and Ways and Means Committee and still has a long way to go in the legislative process.