Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research, of which Congressman Goodlatte serves as Ranking Member, held a hearing to examine the economic impact cap and trade legislation would have on farmers and ranchers and the agriculture industry. Members of the Subcommittee heard testimony from the Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as others from academia who discussed the results of various economic studies on the costs of climate change legislation.
Despite the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey climate change bill last June, this is only the second time the Agriculture Committee has had the opportunity to explore specifically the economic impact of climate change legislation on the agriculture sector.
During the hearing, Mr. Joseph Glauber, Chief Economist from the USDA said "there is no question that agriculture is an energy intensive sector...[and] agriculture will be hit by higher energy costs." Another witness, Dr. John M. Antle from Montana State University, testified that the current economic studies "have tended to under-emphasize the costs of adaptation" for farmers. Dr. Patrick Westhoff from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute added that "the House-passed legislation would raise energy costs and this would translate into higher farm production expenses."
"Today's hearing demonstrated overwhelmingly that cap and trade will have a severe negative impact on farmers in Virginia. Congress should not act based on the expectations foreign governments may have regarding what the U.S. should do on climate change. And, Congress should not act out of fear that the EPA will take on some sort of excessive regulatory action. The economic consequences of cap and trade for our farmers, and ultimately consumers, are real and we should approach this issue very carefully," said Congressman Bob Goodlatte.
The House Agriculture Committee will hold a follow-up hearing tomorrow, December 3, 2009, to review the costs and benefits of agriculture offsets included in Cap and Trade legislation.