Senate Urged to Reject EPA GHG Regulation

US - The American Farm Bureau Federation and 48 other farm groups have joined together in urging the Senate to adopt a resolution that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases (GHG) under the Clean Air Act without prior congressional approval.
calendar icon 20 May 2010
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AFBF President Bob Stallman said virtually all of American agriculture is united in the belief that regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be decided by Congress and not by fiat from a federal regulatory agency.

“Farm Bureau has said all along that the Clean Air Act is not the place to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA’s scheme will lead to increased input costs and costly regulations for farmers and ranchers. Passage of a disapproval resolution by Congress is the best way to ensure that national policy is set by policymakers accountable to the people and not by unelected bureaucrats at EPA,” Mr Stallman said.

The Senate is expected to vote soon on the resolution introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that will effectively veto the EPA’s scheme to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants.

In a letter sent to members of the Senate on 18 May, the broad coalition of agricultural groups, representing crop and livestock producers and allied industries, explained that without relief from Congress, agriculture could suffer severe economic impacts from the EPA’s plan to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Regulation of stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions will begin on 2 January 2011, when these sources will be affected through such programs as Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V operating permits, according to the coalition’s letter.

While EPA has indicated it will start regulating larger emitters in excess of 50,000 tons annually, it does not have the discretion not to regulate smaller emitters. Only Congress can address that question, and existing provisions of the Clean Air Act put these levels at 100 and 250 tons of emissions annually, according to the agricultural groups. The letter states that according to EPA’s own estimates, full implementation “would cost farmers (more than) $866 million” just to obtain Title V operating permits for their farms and livestock operations.

The groups warned that farmers and ranchers will likely incur increased input costs because of the regulatory impacts and agricultural producers will eventually be directly regulated.

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