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Peterson channels farm group opposition to cap and trade

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Farm groups are challenging a proposed cap and trade law.
Farm groups are challenging a proposed cap and trade law.

Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the chairman of the House agriculture committee, says he's not convinced that a proposed cap-and-trade law that seeks to curb greenhouse gas emissions won't harm the nation's farmers.

Peterson is working with House leadership to try to alter the Waxman-Markey bill because it is not "practical" for farmers or the ethanol industry, he told the New York Times.

"Things have to make economic sense, they have to make practical sense - how it's going to work from a business standpoint, a business model," Peterson told the Times.

At committee hearings last week, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack told lawmakers that a carbon offsets market that rewards farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can address climate change while also providing a new source of revenue for landowners.

Proponents of the bill point to successful methane capture from livestock as evidence the offsets can work. Livestock is responsible for more greenhouse gases than farm equipment and other vehicles produce.

Republican lawmakers, backed by groups such as the Heritage Foundation, say the cap-and-trade law would raise energy cost for farmers to power farm equipment.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the bill would only raise energy prices by an average between $98 and $140 per household.
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