Subcommittee Considers the High Costs of Cap & Trade for Agriculture

Dec 2, 2009

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research held a hearing to examine the economic impact cap and trade legislation would have on the agriculture industry. Members of the Subcommittee heard testimony from the Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as others from academia who discussed the results of various economic studies on the costs of climate change legislation.

Despite the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, last June this is only the second time Members of the Agriculture Committee have had the opportunity to explore specifically the economic impact of climate change legislation on the agriculture sector.

During the hearing, Mr. Joseph Glauber from USDA said, "there is no question that agriculture is an energy intensive sector...[and] agriculture will be hit by higher energy costs." Another witness, Dr. John M. Antle from Montana State University, testified that the current economic studies "have tended to under-emphasize the costs of adaptation" for farmers. Dr. Patrick Westhoff from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute added that "the House-passed legislation would raise energy costs and this would translate into higher farm production expenses."

"Today's hearing demonstrated overwhelmingly that cap and trade will have a severe negative impact on our farmers, ranchers, and ultimately consumers. Congress should not act based on the expectations foreign governments may have regarding what the U.S. should do on climate change. And, Congress should not act out of fear that the EPA will take some sort of excessive regulatory action. The economic consequences of cap and trade for our farmers are real and we should approach this issue very carefully," said Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte.