Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) , Ranking Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, respectively, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding his recent remarks on the Department's climate change legislation analysis.
Lucas and Chambliss said the statement made by Sec. Vilsack implies a lack of confidence in the modeling used by both USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, they ask that both the USDA and EPA report to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on the problems with the economic model in order to reflect realistic scenarios while examining the impact of cap and trade on the agriculture and forestry sectors.
Full text of the letter to Secretary Vilsack is below:
December 17, 2009
The Honorable Tom Vilsack
United States Department of Agriculture
14th and Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
It is with significant interest and concern that we read your comments this week regarding the climate change legislation analysis produced by the Department of Agriculture's Office of the Chief Economist. Statements that imply a lack of confidence in both the modeling used and work product developed by USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raise doubts regarding the Administration's position on cap and trade legislation and, more importantly, the impacts on the agricultural and forestry sectors.
The Department's testimony delivered earlier this month to the House Agriculture Committee is clear and unequivocal; agriculture will undergo significant structural impacts that will change how food, feed, fiber and fuel are produced in the United States. The disappearance of 59 million acres of cropland, higher food prices and lower exports will undoubtedly shape how farmers and ranchers make a living in the years ahead. While we can disagree on policy, we cannot ignore the facts when they are inconvenient to our preferred narrative.
In light of your critique of USDA's analysis, we respectfully request your office consult with the EPA and report to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on the problems with the economic model in order to reflect realistic scenarios while examining the impact of cap and trade on the agriculture and forestry sectors. Moving forward with flawed studies will only result in bad policy and legislation.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to working with you on this and other important issues to farmers and ranchers in the future.
U.S. Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.)
U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)