NCBA, PLC Support Murkowski, Lincoln Resolution to Prevent EPA from Regulating Agriculture out of Business
WASHINGTON –The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) are asking the Senate to stand up for American agriculture by supporting S. J. Res. 26 (“Resolution of Disapproval”) by Senators Murkowski (R-AK) and Lincoln (D-AR).
The bipartisan resolution—expected to come before the full Senate for a vote later this week—would effectively reverse the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) finding that greenhouse gases (GHG) are an "endangerment to public health and welfare." “If EPA succeeds in its efforts to trump Congress and unilaterally regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, it will be devastating not just to agriculture but to the entire U.S. economy,” said Tamara Thies, NCBA chief environmental counsel. “It would be irresponsible to allow the EPA to move forward on this type of regulation when there’s so much uncertainty surrounding humans’ contribution to climate change.”
EPA’s “endangerment” finding (issued in Dec., 2009) provides the foundation for the agency to regulate GHGs from small and large sources throughout the economy—including farms, hospitals, office buildings and schools—under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The CAA is ill-equipped to address climate change, and it was never the intent of Congress that it be used for this purpose. “The Resolution of Disapproval would in effect reverse EPA’s finding, and instead allow the complex issue of climate change to be handled through thoughtful Congressional debate,” Thies continued. “In these challenging economic times, we cannot afford to take actions that further jeopardize the ability of the U.S. to remain competitive in the global marketplace.” Earlier today, NCBA, PLC and nearly 50 other agriculture groups sent a joint letter in support of the resolution to members of the Senate. According to the groups, Title V operating permits alone would cost farmers over $866 million (on top of increased input costs as a result of the regulatory impacts on other economic sectors). In addition to supporting S.J. Res. 26 and similar resolutions introduced in the House by Reps. Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Joe Barton (R-TX), NCBA and the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. (“the Coalition”) have taken legal action to prevent EPA from moving forward on GHG regulation.
In December, 2009, the Coalition filed petitions with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and EPA challenging the science behind the initial “endangerment finding,” and in April, 2010, the Coalition filed an appeal against the so-called “Johnson Memo” interpreting when GHGs become subject to the federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit program. The Coalition’s most recent appeal, filed late last week, challenges EPA’s tailpipe standards for greenhouse gas emissions. “We’re asking every member of the Senate to support democratic debate, verifiable science, and American jobs by voting in favor of this resolution,” said Thies.