Oklahoman: Climate Proposal Draws Criticism from U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas}

Aug 29, 2009
In The News

ENID — Rep. Frank Lucas continued his criticism of a controversial climate bill Friday after touring an Enid fertilizer plant.

Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said some provisions of the bill meant to cut pollution could be devastating to farmers, ranchers and small businesses.

The bill, aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, would set a limit on the amount of gases that can be released into the atmosphere and grant companies permits for their share of the pollution.

"Not only will cap-and-trade destroy the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers who live and work in rural America, but it will also cause detrimental harm to towns like Enid if fertilizer plants like this one are forced to close,” Lucas said after touring the Koch Fertilizer plant.

Lucas was joined on the tour by representatives of American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, Enid/Garfield County Development Alliance and Enid Chamber of Commerce.

The plant has about 100 employees and countless contractors involved in producing nitrogen fertilizer. Koch has another plant in Woodward, making Oklahoma one of the nation’s leading fertilizer producers, officials said.

Critics of the climate bill — commonly referred to as cap-and-trade bill — contend it could irreparably damage the fertilizer industry, which employs nearly 25,000 people in the United States at an average salary of $76,000 a year.

Lucas said the bill would encourage foreign companies to open more fertilizer plants as the U.S. is forced to look for help in nourishing its crops.

The House passed the bill by a slim margin in June. Now it is being considered by the Senate.

Lucas said more than 120 agriculture and food groups wrote letters urging Congress to vote against the bill.

"It’s time their voices are heard,” he said.

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