Thursday, April 30, 2009

Farm groups lobby to get credit for carbon already captured, and for USDA roles in climate bill

As work continues on climate legislation, agriculture groups are pushing for major changes to help farm states. "Representatives from two major farm groups told the House Small Business Committee yesterday that the bill should include a bigger role for the Department of Agriculture and more offsets for farmers," reports Allison Winter of The New York Times.

We reported here that farmers are concerned that they will not be compensated for previous prevention of emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. That compensation is only laid out in vague language in the bill's current form.

Winter adds, "Farm groups told the Small Business Committee yesterday that they also want the climate bill to give oversight of any farm offset program to the Agriculture Department, which already has expertise in working with agriculture and farmland conservation programs," not the Environmental Protection Agency.

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, told the committee, "If Congress were to pass something that has EPA doing all of that relative to offsets for agriculture, a lot of our members would be -- frightened might be a little too strong but they would be very, very concerned." (Read more)

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