NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 26, 2009

A large coalition of agricultural groups has come forward to oppose the Waxman-Markey bill restricting carbon dioxide emissions.  Among the groups are the American Farm Bureau, Pork Producers Council, USA Rice Federation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, Council of Farmer Cooperatives, American Meat Institute, National Association of Wheat Growers, and North American Millers' Association.

Tracy Taylor Grondine, director of media relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, strongly disagrees with Waxman-Markey supporters who cite a Congressional Budget Office report asserting the bill would cost the average U.S. household merely $175 per year in the year 2020.

"Most media outlets are only focused on the front-end effects of the climate bill," Grondine explained:

  • In 2020, carbon reductions will only be starting and the industry will be receiving significant carbon credit giveaways.
  • But by 2050, the 17 percent cut in agriculture emissions from 2005 levels is estimated to rise to 82 percent, and there will be no more credit giveaways.
  • So, by 2050 that 5 percent hit will grow to something more like a 15 percent reduction in farm income.

Adam Basford, national affairs coordinator for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, agrees the costs down the road will be much higher.  "According to the EPA, the legislation would cost farmers $5 billion (initially) and by 2050 the cost would rise to $13 billion," he said.

Raising consumer prices is actually the point of the bill, says Basford.

"The very essence of cap-and-trade is to increase prices so much that consumption, and therefore emissions, are reduced," Basford explained.  "Farm Bureau has continually said that any cap-and-trade legislation must make economic sense for agriculture.  It must be structured in a way that the costs do not outweigh the benefits for family farms, rural communities, and the overall economy.

Source: James M. Taylor, "120 Agriculture Groups Oppose Waxman-Markey," Heartland Institute, November 1, 2009.


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