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December 03, 2008   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
December 03, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama Farmers Federation, the state's largest farm organization, today thanked farmers and consumers throughout the state for their fast and passionate response to an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

"We have documented more than 400 letters to the administrator of EPA since last week from producers and concerned citizens who oppose any rule that would intentionally or unintentionally charge farmers permitting fees for their livestock," said Federation President Jerry A. Newby. "This comes in response to EPA's Advance Notice of Rulemaking, which is essentially the agency's way of asking whether a proposal is a good idea. Alabama farmers and consumers answered that question with a resounding, 'No.'"

Although isolated reports argued farmers' response to the proposal was an overreaction, the Federation has been joined in expressing concern about the plan by Alabama's Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Sparks and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Pork Producers Council and the United Egg Producers.

Based on EPA's own rate structure and USDA figures related to greenhouse gas production by livestock, the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act could trigger costly fees for 90 percent of the livestock producers in Alabama. Although this Advance Notice of Rulemaking was only the first step toward that end, Newby said livestock leaders were wise to recognize that the rule could drive many farmers out of business.

"As we all know, it is easier to influence the course of a regulatory action at the earliest stages -- and the earlier, the better," Newby said. "If we had waited to the proposed rule stage, it might have been too late."

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