Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rural electrics' issue is bigger obstacle to climate bill than farm issues, Ag Committee chair says

The allocation of carbon allowances to electric utilities has become a bigger problem for the climate-change bill than agriculture issues, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota told The Hill yesterday. As we reported last week, rural electric cooperatives, which get 80 percent of their power from coal, say the bill is unfair to them and their customer-members.

“This has created a big revolt with the members. I just had probably six or seven of them come up to me — including three committee chairmen — talking about this,” Peterson told Jared Allen of the Hill. Allen reports that Peterson has become the point man for Democrats wanting changes in the bill because he has access to its main sponsor, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The other sponsor is Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

“It looks to us that they made a deal on the two coasts with the big guys and didn’t think about [farmers and the Midwest],” Peterson said. “So this, I would say right now, is a bigger stumbling block for Waxman than the ag stuff.” After meeting with Markey and Rep. Rick Boucher of southwest Virginia, "another Democrat with whom Waxman had to strike a deal in order to move his bill through his panel, Peterson said progress was being made on the electricity and some of the agriculture issues." Boucher said of his rural colleagues' concerns, “I think they are addressable concerns.” (Read more) Meanwhile, a Washington Post editorial sums up the farm issues in climate change.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Of course RECCs will be hurt worse because they use more coal. Any entity that continues to rely on cheap coal will have to pay the price. Remember, RECCs like the ones in Kentucky have been out of compliance with clean air standards for decades. They've never played by the rules.

The sooner profiteers, as well as consumers, realize they must begin paying for the free ride they've been getting - benefits far outweighing the true costs of coal - the better off we'll all be.

You have to pay to play, and humans have not been paying equitably for they way they've been playing on this planet. aoleigh ybm,berm