Climate Change Bill Faces Tougher Passage in Senate

Ohio Farm Bureau  is disappointed that H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, passed the House on Friday but is committed to defeating the legislation if it is brought up in the Senate.  Rick Krause, senior director of congressional relations for AFBF, says the narrow vote in the House means it will be a challenge for the bill to gain the 60 votes required for passage in the Senate. With health care reform expected to take priority in the Senate, many Senators may be reluctant immediately to tackle another bill that will be controversial and expensive.   “The Democratic leadership had to twist a lot of arms to get the necessary votes for the bill to pass the House,” Krause said. “The dynamics in the Senate are different. Farm Bureau sees much stronger opposition to the bill in the Senate.”  AFBF and OFBF remain strongly opposed to the bill despite the inclusion of an amendment by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) that calls for the Agriculture Department to manage an offset program for farms, rather than the Environmental Protection Agency.  Another problem with the bill are provisions that would potentially put the United States in violation of the World Trade Organization because it demands other nations to make equivalent commitments to greenhouse gas reductions or face punitive actions. These provisions would be unenforceable, and U.S. products would be subject to retaliatory tariffs and U.S. competitiveness would be harmed. President Barack Obama said he opposes the trade sanction portions of the bill.