AFBF URGES 'NO' VOTE ON CLIMATE CHANGE BILL
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging all members of the House to vote "no" on a sweeping climate change bill that is scheduled for a floor vote on Friday and is asking them to vote "yes" on an amendment authored by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
In a letter sent today to all 435 members of the House, AFBF President Bob Stallman said H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, will "unquestionably impose enormous costs on the American economy, including agriculture."
An AFBF economic analysis shows that at a minimum, net farm income will decline by $5 billion annually by the year 2020, if H.R. 2454 is passed.
"The $5 billion impact is under the most optimistic set of assumptions," Stallman said. "Those estimates do not begin to tell the story of what will happen when the program mandated by this legislation fully takes hold."
AFBF is concerned because the bill would result in a net economic cost to farmers with little or no environmental benefit. In addition, it creates an "energy deficit" for the United States by curtailing the use of fossil fuels without supplying any realistic alternative to make up the lost energy. Also, it does nothing to require other countries, such as China and India, to undertake similar programs.
Stallman praised Peterson's effort to improve the bill and urged passage of his amendment because it incorporates provisions that are critical to American agriculture.
"The Peterson amendment establishes an agricultural offset program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture; provides for a list of eligible agricultural offsets; corrects the misuse of indirect land use calculations in evaluating the use of biofuels; and alters the definition of biomass," Stallman explained.
"H.R. 2454 may be the most important legislation considered in the 111th Congress," Stallman emphasized. "It is critical that legislation not be approved that will harm agriculture, harm our economy and reduce economic opportunity for our children -- all in the name of computer-driven scenarios, the science of which is increasingly brought into question."