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Farm Bureau Attacks Clean Air Act

by 5m Editor
24 September 2008, at 9:42am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Farm Bureau Federation has attacked the Clean Air Act as a means of regulating greenhouse gases as being the wrong approach for agriculture.

AFBF said in a statement for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that such regulation would cause significant and severe consequences to the agriculture industry.

If the rule were enacted, it would be the first time farms and farm buildings would be regulated under the Clean Air Act. According to the Agriculture Department, it would impact small to mid-sized farms, including 25-head dairies, 50-head cattle beef operations, 200-head swine operations and 500-acre cornfields.

"Any use of the Clean Air Act in its current form to address greenhouse gas emissions will regulate agricultural and forestry operations, but will not give credit to the amount of greenhouse gas sequestered in the soils." the AFBF statement said.

"The Clean Air Act will not regulate net greenhouse gas emissions. It makes better sense for greenhouse gas regulation to encourage continued and increased sequestration of greenhouse gases by agriculture and forestry, rather than by regulating the relatively small percentage of emissions those sectors contribute."

Agriculture and forestry have the capability to take more greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere than they emit. According to the latest Environmental Protection Agency inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and sinks, agriculture and forestry emit approximately seven per cent of the US total, but in 2005 offset 11.4 per cent of the US total.

EPA also estimates that agriculture and forestry have the potential to sequester 15 percent to 25 percent of total US emissions.

Also unique to the industry is that agriculture and forestry emit relatively little carbon dioxide and emit relatively more methane and nitrous oxide than other sectors because of its beef and dairy operations and rice cultivation.

Neither methane nor nitrous oxide stays in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, said AFBF.

"A regulatory scheme that is based upon emissions of ‘carbon equivalents’ will therefore impact larger numbers of agricultural producers because it requires less emissions of methane or nitrous oxide to equal a similar amount of carbon dioxide emissions," read the statement.

Lastly, according to AFBF, many of the emissions associated with agriculture are natural processes for which there is no control technology or mechanism.

"The net result is that the American economy, including agriculture, will suffer, with little or no benefit to be seen from clean air regulation," read the statement.

5m Editor