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Philip Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, last week testified on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for “stationary,” or non-transportation-related sources under the Clean Air Act. The testimony took place before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called the hearing to solicit comments about a proposal in the draft Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which would prohibit EPA from regulating carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. Nelson was one of 15 to testify before the committee. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) serves on the Energy and Power Subcommittee.
“Farmers and ranchers receive a double economic jolt from the regulation of GHG from stationary sources,” Nelson testified. “For the first time, many farm and ranch operations will likely be subject to . . . permit requirements under the Clean Air Act. EPA itself estimates that just the expense of obtaining [these] operating permits will cost agriculture over $866 million,” Nelson said.
Nelson also told the subcommittee that EPA’s "costly and burdensome regulatory scheme" would produce very little, if any, environmental benefit.
“Greenhouse gases are distributed evenly around the globe, so that a ton of GHG emitted in Illinois is no different than a ton emitted in China. Regulation of GHGs emitted in Illinois means little if emissions in China are not similarly regulated. Unless and until the countries of the world agree on an international treaty on greenhouse gas emissions, unilateral regulation of greenhouse gases by EPA will have little environmental effect,” Nelson said.
Nelson voiced Farm Bureau’s support of the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, saying that the act applies the brakes to EPA’s process to regulate GHG under the Clean Air Act, and restores the jurisdiction of Congress to develop climate policy.
In December, Illinois Farm Bureau members at their annual meeting passed a “sense of the delegate body” resolution, urging Congress to hold a series of oversight hearings on EPA’s "regulatory overreach," to pass legislation to strip the agency of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases, and to cut the agency’s budget as an effort to “restore common sense to environmental regulation.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), at its annual meeting last month, passed a similar resolution, based on Illinois’ resolution. Nelson offered his testimony on behalf of AFBF.