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Climate bill burden on Arizona farmers

Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers is urging Arizona’s congressional delegation to oppose federal climate change legislation that would increase costs for farmers and consumers.

“The American Clean Energy and Security Act would create a financial hardship for many Arizona farmers, raise food costs on consumers, and would undermine our nation's food security and independence by driving more agricultural production to other countries,” Rogers says.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, H.R. 2454, on May 21. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California placed the bill on fast track for a vote by the full House of Representatives.

The measure is referred to as "Cap-and-Trade" legislation because it would cap greenhouse gas emissions and allow credits for the sequestering of carbon to be traded like a commodity.

According to ranking minority member of the U.S. House’s Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp, R-Michigan, the electric bill for an Arizona household would increase nearly $2,000 per year occurring in part because coal-fired utility plants would pay for the emitted carbon.

Rogers says, “The American family will be put under severe economic stress when you add the increased costs of fuel, food, and clothing that are the result of this cap and trade proposal – it’s a carbon tax that will ultimately be paid for by families.”

Arizona Farm Bureau (AZFB) research shows water costs to farmers could rise by up to 25 percent while fuel and other energy costs could increase 10 percent to 20 percent as a result of cap and trade legislation.

“A pound of carbon in the U.S. is the same as a pound of carbon in China, but in that country they won’t be penalized,” Rogers said.

Consumers would not only feel the impact of higher utility costs and agriculture producers’ higher fertilizer, diesel fuel, and other production inputs. Rogers says the bill would reduce U.S. farmers’ competitiveness abroad since other countries would not be subject to the same standards.

“As our country struggles to wean itself off foreign oil it makes no sense to put this kind of cap and trade burden on Americans,” Rogers said. "This bill will hurt families, drive small companies and farms out of business, and stifle economic recovery. Cap and trade legislation will also drive agriculture production to other countries that won’t have to contend with such legislation.”

TAGS: Legislative
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