The National Cotton Council coordinated a letter, signed by 175 agricultural organizations, to Representatives Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Ike Skelton, D-Mo., acknowledging support of the legislators’ actions against a greenhouse gas regulation plan.
The two legislators have introduced resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act regarding the EPA’s decision to move forward on regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
“Such regulatory actions will carry severe consequences for the U.S. economy, including America’s farmers and ranchers, through increased input costs and international market disparities,” the groups said in their letter.
It also noted that both the current and past administrations have acknowledged that the CAA is not the appropriate vehicle for establishing greenhouse gas policy. However, the EPA finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare will trigger CAA regulatory actions such as application of National Ambient Air Quality Standards, New Source Performance Standards, and provisions of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V programs, essentially establishing greenhouse gas policy through the CAA by default.
“The compliance costs for these CAA programs would be overwhelming as millions of entities, including farms and ranches, would be subject to burdensome CAA regulations,” the organizations emphasized. “While EPA has attempted to craft a ‘tailoring rule’ to ease such a burden, our experience in these matters is that attempts to administratively relax environmental requirements are routinely challenged in court.”
The letter also urged House approval of the legislators’ resolution as introduced.
Their resolution follows a similar resolution introduced in January by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. In a NCC-coordinated letter to Sen. Murkowski, 137 other commodity and agricultural organizations declared their support for her effort. The breadth of support from agriculture encouraged several Democratic senators to cosponsor the resolution.
Like the Murkowski resolution, Barton and Skelton’s resolutions point out that the EPA rule itself claims to establish only a weak, indirect link between greenhouse gases and public health and welfare, going so far as to admit that there are uncertainties over the net, direct health impacts of the greenhouse gases it is attempting to regulate. The resolutions note that EPA Administrator Jackson recently acknowledged that unilateral actions by the United States would have no material impact on global warming. 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 United States only serves to further damage our economy and encourage businesses to relocate. EPA's finding puts the agricultural economy at grave risk based on allegations of a weak, indirect link to public health and welfare and despite the lack of any environmental benefit.
If the resolution were to make it through Congress, President Obama would still have the authority to veto it.