Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) today voted against H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), climate legislation commonly referred to as "cap-and-trade." The bill would impose new greenhouse gas emissions standards and efficiency standards across the U.S. economy while creating the untested and complex cap-and-trade proposal.
The bill passed 219 to 212.
"This bill supposedly combats global warming by setting strict limits on carbon emissions, but it doesn't. In fact, it imposes enormous taxes and restrictions on energy use - placing an especially heavy burden on rural America and our nation's agriculture producers. Even a small increase in operating costs could devastate farmers and ranchers.
"Under this legislation - which drastically adds volatility to the energy sector - U.S. agriculture producers also would be at a severe disadvantage compared to farmers in nations which do not have a cap-and-trade system. We had the chance to make this bill better, but Congress turned its back on America's farmers and ranchers," Smith said.
On Thursday, Smith offered an amendment to help compensate agriculture producers negatively affected by the legislation. It was not allowed to be included in the final legislation.
Agriculture is one of the nation's most energy intensive industries, and is expected to be impacted heavily by this legislation. According to a Heritage Foundation economic analysis of H.R. 2454, farm income would drop $8 billion in 2012, $25 billion in 2024, and more than $50 billion in 2035 - decreases of 28 percent, 60 percent, and 94 percent, respectively.
U.S. farmers would be at a severe disadvantage compared to farmers in nations which do not have a cap-and-trade system with correspondingly high input costs. Estimates place per household burdens from $1,600 to more than $4,000 annually to comply with the bill. The Heritage Foundation estimates Nebraska will lose more than $1 billion and nearly 10,000 jobs if cap-and-trade becomes law.
To date, more than 100 agriculture groups - including the Nebraska Farm Bureau - have expressed opposition to this bill.