The National Corn Growers Association has commended House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson for his negotiations on pending climate change legislation, H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

(For more, see House climate bill deal reached)

“We appreciate the dedication Chairman Peterson has shown to U.S. corn growers and the agriculture industry during this legislative process,” said Bob Dickey, NCGA president. ”He has been a true champion for our industry during negotiations and his amendment to the climate change legislation will make several steps in the right direction.”

Peterson will offer an amendment this week that represents the agreement reached by the House Agriculture Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. One of the key elements is the role the USDA will play in a cap and trade system. The Peterson amendment will create a workable agricultural offsets market under the jurisdiction of the USDA and will explicitly exempt agriculture from a greenhouse gas emissions cap while also creating opportunities for producers to be a part of the solution for addressing climate change.

NCGA also lauded Peterson’s efforts to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from including international land use change when calculating carbon emissions from corn-based ethanol.

Dickey said that NCGA is pleased with the agreement that was reached in the Peterson amendment. Recent negotiations on H.R. 2454 have produced tremendous progress from the original version of the legislation.

However, NCGA will continue to work to address items not included in the final language that are of great importance to the corn industry. Specifically, the association will continue to advocate for producers who have been engaged in no-till and conservation tillage practices since earlier than 2001 to ensure they will not be unfairly penalized by being disqualified from an offsets market when continued carbon sequestration is achievable on their land. NCGA urged members of Congress to consider the implications of policies that create incentives for farmers to release previously stored carbon into the atmosphere in order to benefit from a cap-and-trade market.

“Along with Chairman Peterson, NCGA greatly values the work Speaker Nancy Pelosi has done on this legislation and thanks her for her commitment to America’s corn growers throughout the negotiations in the House of Representatives,” Dickey said. “We again praise Congressman Zack Space for his amendments during the initial markup of the legislation, which helped improve the bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”

“NCGA supports adoption of the Peterson amendment during House floor consideration, but due to the complexity of the bill, recent changes to the legislation and the short period of time to analyze the legislation, NCGA will remain neutral on the overall bill until we can fully analyze the impact on our growers. We look forward to working with the U.S. Senate to continue improvements on this important piece of legislation.”