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Climate Bill- Additional Analysis
DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday that, "[A]griculture is exempted from the greenhouse-gas emission requirements. Another key provision would effectively shelf the Environmental Protection Agency-proposed rule that factors in land-use changes overseas when calculating the carbon reduction of biofuels. The EPA would not be allowed to consider indirect land-use change under the bill for at least five years and any future consideration of ILUC would also require approval from USDA and the Department of Energy."
Mr. Clayton noted that, "While the ag language appears strong, House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton, D-Texas, said in debate that there was still a provision in the bill that could allow the EPA administrator to designate any emission as harmful to the public and thus subject to the bill's regulatory oversight.
"'As far as I can tell, that paragraph trumps everything Chairman Peterson has negotiated with Chairman Waxman,' Barton said on the House floor."
Stephen Power reported in today's Wall Street Journal that, "One way the Waxman-Markey bill tries to guard against bogus offsets is to delegate decisions on what kinds of activities qualify to the EPA and an 'Offsets Integrity Advisory Board,' composed of scientific experts. But that just shifts the lobbying elsewhere.
"Farm groups and their congressional allies won a deal to put the Department of Agriculture - rather than the EPA - in charge of determining which domestic agricultural activities qualify as offsets. That is great news for farmers who stand to make money from the bill, but a source of anxiety for environmentalists.
"'We expect them to be somewhat farmer-friendly,' Rep. Collin Peterson (D., Minn.), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said of the USDA.
"In the end, it is probably unrealistic to think any offset system Congress designs will be perfect. The real question facing the Waxman-Markey bill's supporters is how imperfect the system will be."
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