NCC: Lincoln, Chambliss leadership on GHG regulation reassuring
The National Cotton Council said it was reassuring to the agricultural community to see Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) responding to 138 diverse organizations by joining 35 other senators in cosponsoring a measure that would keep U.S. farmers and ranchers from economic harm.
The NCC said the Sen. Murkowski (R-AK)-introduced “resolution of disapproval,” if passed, will repeal EPA's endangerment finding on greenhouse gases (GHG), preventing EPA from regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
A resolution of disapproval is a provision of the Congressional Review Act which allows Congress to review every new federal regulation issued by government agencies. The resolution cannot be amended or filibustered in the Senate but there is no similar “fast-track” process in the House. The resolution requires presidential approval.
The NCC coordinated a letter supporting Murkowski's resolution and received an overwhelming response. A total of 138 agricultural organizations signed on to the letter.
EPA announced on December 7 its “endangerment finding” that GHGs threaten the public health and welfare of the American people and that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat. This finding responds to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA that GHGs fit within the CAA definition of air pollutants. The decision did not compel EPA to act, but simply said that it could.
“An endangerment finding will trigger numerous regulatory actions,” said NCC Chairman Jay Hardwick, a Louisiana cotton producer. “The costs of compliance would be overwhelming as millions of entities, including farms and ranches, would be subject to burdensome, time-consuming and costly regulations. EPA has acknowledged the overwhelming economic burden by proposing to apply the regulations only to large sources of emissions. It is widely expected that this 'tailoring rule' will be challenged in court and could be revoked.”
The NCC points out that the EPA rule claims only a weak, indirect link between GHGs and public health and welfare and cites uncertainties over the net, direct health impacts of the GHGs it is attempting to regulate.
“CAA regulations for GHGs, if imposed across the board, will impose a huge economic cost on U.S. industries and farms and ranches – including U.S. cotton farmers – by increasing energy and input costs and rendering U.S. cotton and products uncompetitive in international markets,” Hardwick said. “China and India, two of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, continue to reject any verifiable reduction measures. Without an effective international agreement on emission reductions, unilateral action by the U.S. damages our economy and encourages businesses to relocate overseas.”
National Cotton Council of America