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June 24, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
June 24, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The controversial climate change legislation working its way toward a vote on the House floor this week was called "seriously flawed" and "problematic" by Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, in a statement issued Wednesday by the nation's largest farm organization.

The House is expected to vote on the Waxman-Markey bill Friday or possibly Saturday, and it is still unclear if there are enough votes to pass the measure.

"The bill's provisions and omissions are very problematic for U.S. agriculture, our national economy and domestic energy security," Stallman said in a statement, which also praised "stellar efforts" of House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.,) and many rural members of Congress to win vital changes for America's farm and ranch families.

Peterson says he will now vote for the massive climate change bill after several farm-related issues were modified to his satisfaction.

"...This legislation raises a wide range of issues that are detrimental to U.S. agriculture," Stallman's statement continued. "One of the chief challenges is the energy deficit the bill will create. New technologies hold great promise for our nation, but are nowhere close to coming on line. The bill forces agriculture and other productive sectors of our nation's economy into a position of severe competitive disadvantage with trading partners like China and other nations who will not burden their economies to control carbon emissions."

"We're going to pass this bill and move on," said the bill's primary author, Rep. Henry Waxman (D- Calif.). However, there is still strong opposition to the bill from Republicans in the House and many conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats.

In the meantime, the Des Moines Register reports that the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't see much in the way of payments to farmers for storing carbon and forecasts that crop yields will fall if the legislation is enacted. EPA also believes cropland will fall as more acreage is put into trees to qualify for carbon payments.

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