Sapulpa Herald: National Energy Tax Bill Threatens Food Production

Jun 23, 2009
In The News

Economists have estimated that H.R. 2454 would cause farm income to drop anywhere from $8 billion in the short term to $50 billion long term.

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Frank Lucas, along with seven other ranking Republicans of other committees, held a press conference Friday to oppose efforts by Democratic leaders to block full and open debate on the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, otherwise known as the national energy tax.

These eight committees have jurisdiction over the bill but have been bypassed by Democratic leaders who are rushing the bill through Congress and plan to hold a vote on this bill as early as this week.

“The agriculture committee has had one hearing on this bill without a markup in sight. The Committee took testimony from eight witnesses, covering a wide variety of rural interests, plus Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Not one of these individuals endorsed the bill as it reads today. Secretary Vilsack called it ‘a work in progress.’ This is not the way you create law,” Lucas said.

This comes as more than 100 agriculture groups have publicly expressed opposition to the Waxman-Markey bill (H.R. 2454). In a month’s time the number has grown from 23 to 115. The latest groups to join the cause include the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). To date, no large farm groups have endorsed it.

“In a month’s time the agriculture community has been working to analyze and understand the impact of this bill. It’s clear, the agriculture community does not believe this bill is in the best interest of farmers and ranchers. That fact is evident by the growing number of agriculture groups who oppose this legislation with more joining the cause every day,” Lucas said.

In letters to Lucas and Chairman Collin Peterson, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council wrote the following:

"Our members are very concerned, however, about the effects this bill could have on the costs of fuel, electricity, feed, fertilizer, equipment, and other inputs necessary to maintain a cattle operation. Economists have estimated that H.R. 2454 would cause farm income to drop anywhere from $8 billion in the short term to $50 billion long term." – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

"In particular, producers fear the impact that H.R. 2454 will have on the cost of electricity, diesel fuel, grain, propane, animal health products, fertilizer, chemicals, farm equipment and materials such as steel and concrete that are necessary for the continued operations of their farms and well-being of their animals." – National Pork Producers Council.

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