Springfield, Mo. – As the Senate wrangles with the House-passed Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, U.S. Senator Kit Bond and Congressman Roy Blunt today joined members of Missouri’s agricultural community for a discussion on the negative impact cap and trade legislation will have on Missouri farmers and ranchers.
“Instead of killing jobs and raising energy taxes with a cap and tax bill that will cut family budgets and hurt farmers, we should invest in clean energy alternatives,” Bond told forum participants. “I hope you will help us send Congress the message that we do not want a cap and trade energy tax.”
““Missouri’s electricity rates could increase by as much as 80 percent over the next ten years under the national energy tax that passed the House,” said Blunt. “It’s an onerous, job-killing plan that will impact everyone who uses electricity, goes to the grocery store or buys anything made by an American manufacturer. Today’s forum is a great chance to hear from farmers and ranchers about the real impact of this energy tax.”
During the forum, Bond and Blunt emphasized that this is exactly the wrong time to be enacting a new energy tax. They noted that nearly one in ten Americans is unemployed. In Missouri, 3,700 manufacturing jobs were lost in May and in June 2,500 jobs were lost.
Bond and Blunt emphasized that the cap and trade bill, also referred to as cap and tax, will create many serious problems for Missouri families and farmers. Specifically, the bill will increase energy costs, kill even more Missouri manufacturing jobs, and disproportionately affect states like Missouri in the Midwest and South that depend heavily on electricity from coal.
In addition to emphasizing these problems, Bond and Blunt noted that farmers will be particularly hard hit. Under the cap and trade bill, farmers will face higher costs for seed, fertilizer, chemicals, custom hire and rental, machinery fuel, drying and irrigation energy, machinery repairs and operating interests. They cited a new report by the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri that details how Missouri farmers will face tens of thousands of dollars each year in new, higher energy costs if the cap and trade bill becomes law.
Bond and Blunt pointed out that many of the claims made by cap and trade advocates are disingenuous. As an example, they noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits that there is almost no opportunity for farmers to benefit from soil management practices that sequester carbon since the majority of farmers are already doing so. For livestock and dairy operators, they added that the cost of installing a system to capture methane released from cow or pig manure will cost $3 million.
"Missouri has lost over 40 percent of its dairy farms since 1997, compared to a 20 percent loss nationwide,” said Rogersville resident and dairy farmer Randy Mooney. “If we are going to keep the state’s infrastructure and processing capabilities and keep those associated jobs, we need to keep dairy producers producing. Current climate change legislative efforts coupled with today's crisis in the dairy sector put our state’s industry at risk."
Rather than massive taxes, spending, an expansion of government and lost jobs, Bond and Blunt stressed that there are better solutions to America’s energy problems. Both the Senator and Congressman have long advocated the reduction of carbon emissions through increased use of zero-carbon nuclear power, low-carbon biofuels, increased investment in clean coal technologies, low-carbon hybrid and plug-in vehicles, and solar and wind power where it makes economic sense.