Friday, July 24, 2009

Senate Ag Cmte Talks Global Warming

Senate Ag Committee Hearing on Global Warming
Hoosier Ag Today

With the words - our American way of buying and consuming energy is not only unsustainable but dangerous to our future - Senate Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin opened the ag committee hearing on legislation addressing the role of agriculture and forestry in global warming. Harkin focused on the importation of about 70 percent of the oil we use, much of that from nations that are unfriendly or politically unstable, and our extraction and use of coal which permanently alters landscapes and pollutes too many of our lakes and streams.

Panel member Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation asked the Senate Agriculture Committee to take an active and aggressive role in the climate change debate, but cautioned committee members that rushing to pass such sweeping legislation would be a fundamental mistake. Stallman encouraged members to analyze the issue closely, carefully and thoroughly. He also recommended that the committee improve climate change legislation so that it is as beneficial as possible for the agriculture industry.

Chambliss Wants More Hearings

Senator Saxby Chambliss, Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has asked committee chairman Tom Harkin to consider holding more hearings to better understand the climate change issue and its effects on agriculture, forestry and rural America. He also recommended careful review of the role of the Commodity futures Trading Commission under a cap and trade program.

During his opening statement, Senator Chambliss outlined several concerns he has with the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act and - the tremendous costs associated with its provisions. Chambliss said the cap and trade program will undoubtedly raise production costs for farmers and ranchers. USDA and Texas A&M University are conducting economic analyses of the Waxman-Markey and Boxer bills, with special attention to the effects at the farm gate level and to consumers. Chambliss says - what we have seen of preliminary study results is that no farm will escape the effect of this bill. Read More

The intent of this bill is pretty simple. The federal government wants to tell you how and when you will use energy and at what price. All in the name of what? Not a single natural disaster we have experienced in the past several years was some odd, never before seen event. Tree ring records paint a picture that we have actually been experiencing a very mild weather pattern lately. In our area it appears that we have finally emerged from seven years of extreme drought, but the tree rings show us that it wasn’t uncommon to have 20-30 year periods of drought. The fact is that climate change always has been and always will be occurring on this planet. There are certainly things we can do better, but to suggest that we can tax our way into changing the climate is insane.

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