Corn Commentary

Does Anyone Like the Climate Change Bill?

The “American Clean Energy and Security Act” passed last week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee seems to be making strange bedfellows. Agricultural and environmental groups, as well as both Democrats and Republicans, have all voiced opposition to the legislation that intends to reduce greenhouse gases by 83 percent over the next 40 years.

On the agriculture side, National Corn Growers Association President Bob Dickey said, “We strongly believe the bill will increase input costs without specific opportunities to offset those additions. We cannot support the American Clean Energy and Security Act in absence of the provisions that we have explained in some length to the Committee.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says the bill “ignores the complex needs of a very diverse U.S. agricultural industry” and it is certain to “increase our operating costs and reduce our competitiveness abroad.” Other groups voicing opposition include the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers and the Fertilizer Institute.

On the environmental side, a coalition of groups that includes Greenpeace USA and Friends of the Earth, issued a statement that reads, in part, “the decision-making process was co-opted by oil and coal lobbyists determined to sustain our addiction to dirty fossil fuels, even as the country stands ready to rebuild our economy and clean up the environment with real clean energy. The resulting bill reflects the triumph of politics over science, and the triumph of industry influence over the public interest.”

Republican lawmakers are also opposed to the bill. House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio says the bill could cost the average American family as much as $3,100 a year. Congressman Joe Barton of Texas, top Republican on the House committee, threatened to have the 1000-plus page bill read in full to slow action on the legislation. He backed down on that threat, but committee chairman Henry Waxman – the bill’s co-author – hired a speed reader just in case. (Funny video of that on YouTube is worth watching.)

And even Democrats are opposed to the bill. House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson has voiced his strong opposition to the bill and indicated last week that he has the votes to defeat the legislation.

So, the question is, does anyone besides the bill’s authors actually like this piece of legislation?