Politico has a non-shocker of a story about how the farm lobby is split on the question of climate change. Some farmers think it will be an increased burden on their sector. Others think the risk of climate change (and drought and all that comes with it) make the trade-offs worthwhile.
But the real story is buried. What’s going to happen is that the climate change legislation — if it passes — will be loaded up with all kinds of giveaways and freebies and market-distorting subsidies, the likes of which farmers (big agribusiness in particular) has enjoyed for a long time in America.
The House legislation would cap the annual amount of domestic offsets, but, in the Senate, Peterson and farm lobbyists are pushing to include unlimited offsets. They’d like to increase opportunities for farmers to earn offset credits for programs they already have in place, a practice that supporters call “stacking credits” and that opponents deride as double-dipping. Farm lobbyists are also pushing the Senate to provide a percentage of free allowances to the agricultural sector to help cushion the economic impact on farmers and to fund the development of new technologies to increase production efficiencies.
And, and surprise, there’s going to be a giveaway to the Iowa ethanol lobby, too:
The NFU is lobbying for the legislation to include resources for farmers who have a tougher time participating in offset programs.
Other differences have arisen over a proposal that would increase the minimum amount of ethanol mixed into gasoline from 10 per cent per gallon to 15 per cent. Farmers are pushing the proposal, which would increase the market for ethanol, but ranchers fear higher feed and fuel costs.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Agriculture Committee, is considering inserting language in the climate bill that would raise the minimum blend to 15 per cent — even if that means overriding a decision by EPA, which is currently reviewing the proposal.
“It is my feeling that EPA has a strong bias against ethanol,” he told reporters earlier this month. “But we can also legislate it. We can legislate a change.”
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