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June 16, 2009

Posted by: Matt Dempsey

Link to House Ag Questionnaire

With news yesterday of the left-of-center National Farmers Union opposing the Waxman-Markey bill, it’s clear that America’s farmers, to say the least, are growing skeptical of cap-and-trade.  To illuminate concerns from the agricultural community, EPW Policy Beat returned to the 2,000-plus pages of responses from agriculture groups to a questionnaire from the House Agriculture Committee on climate change policy.  As we noted last week, a perusal through the reams of comments demonstrates pervasive unease and outright opposition among America’s farmers to cap-and-trade and other forms of carbon regulation. 

Below is an excerpt from the Dairy Farmers of America, who, in their comments, delineate specific criteria for sound climate policy—e.g., that developing nations adopt “equally significant reductions” as the U.S. and that climate legislation pass a cost-benefit test.  As they make plain, the DFA are skeptical of whether cap-and-trade of the Waxman-Markey variety can meet their climate criteria:   

“At this time, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) is reluctant to embrace any type of climate change legislation without a better understanding of its impact on the entire U.S. economy and specifically, the dairy industry.  Should the U.S. enter into a system where it effectively reduces its greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in the aggregate, it must also work to ensure that other industrialized nations agree to similar terms and developing nations adopt equally significant reductions.  The U.S. needs to ensure that the costs of any climate change legislation do not exceed the benefits, that new regulations are based on sound science and that the global burden is fairly distributed.

“We are especially cautious of mandatory GHG measures without a more complete and thorough understanding by all the major affected U.S. parties as to what these changes would mean for their incomes, businesses, livelihoods and ways of life.  This is especially the case given the depths and extent of the nation’s current economic crisis whose negative effects are all too immediate and from which we have yet to see an end…

“DFA is also concerned about the ramifications of a cap-and-trade system on the entire, currently fragile U.S. economy, even though a carbon offset program might offer some incentives for dairy farmers to continue to pursue innovations and gain the market benefits as a result.”


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