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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act Of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise in opposition to this amendment. Limiting MLGs and LDPs is disruptive to orderly marketing because USDA lacks the ability in real time to track eligibility. Consequently, a producer may exceed his loan limit under this amendment and USDA have no idea he has exceeded his loan limit, so he is going to have to come back later on and obviously repay that in very difficult times.

Most farming operations secure financing for annual production costs as well as incur long-term debt for equipment and land. Introducing limits on marketing loan benefits makes this financing more difficult to obtain and more difficult to administer from a farmer's standpoint as well as a banking standpoint.

I urge opposition to the amendment.

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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise to speak out against the EPA's mercury and air toxics standards--known as Utility MACT--and in support of the resolution disapproving this rule introduced by my colleague from Oklahoma, Senator Inhofe.

This set of standards--one of the most expensive of its kind ever issued by EPA--will cause a rise in electric bills for my constituents in Georgia and for Americans all across this country. As our economy continues to stagnate, we can hardly afford to increase the cost of electricity, which will be an economic burden for individuals and businesses and will hamper economic recovery.

Higher electric bills are especially unwarranted when the regulations that will cause the electricity cost increase are expected to provide negligible benefits for the American public. The poor and individuals on fixed incomes, such as the elderly, can hardly afford higher electricity bills. These are precisely the groups disproportionately affected by Utility MACT.

EPA estimates that compliance with this rule will cost $9.6 billion annually in 2015, which is more conservative than many industry figures. One electric company in my home State estimates that by 2014 Utility MACT could cost them up to $250 million annually to implement. This does not take into account the hundreds of millions of additional dollars the company expects to spend on complying with existing environmental statutes and regulations. Even going by EPA's own conservative $9.6 billion cost estimate, studies have shown that the costs will lead to job loss, both directly at utilities and indirectly through industries and manufacturers affected.

I hear every day from businesses of every size in my home State that say the regulatory overreach of this administration threatens the very well-being of their particular business. Utility MACT is yet another example of this overreach.

Instead of promulgating a limited rule to regulate mercury and air toxics--known as hazardous air pollutants--as the title ``Mercury and Air Toxics Standards'' implies, EPA has extended its reach by focusing a great deal of attention on particulate matter in these standards. Particulate matter emissions, not characterized as hazardous air pollutants, are already subject to other EPA regulations, so with Utility MACT, EPA is going beyond what Congress directed the Agency to do. The extra regulations tacked on to the mercury standard add significantly to the expected cost of this rule.

Furthermore, the standards for new facilities, as set forth by Utility MACT, might very well prove to be unattainable. Due to the methodology employed by EPA to gather the data used to set the standards, even certain manufacturers of the emissions control equipment say they cannot guarantee their technology will be able to achieve the standards in practice. How can we require utilities to reduce emissions to such a level that cannot even be guaranteed achievable with current technology? It makes no sense. That will spell the end of any new coal-fired plants in the United States, drastically reducing our ability to use one of our most abundant domestic energy resources, even in more environmentally friendly ways.

The cumulative impact of these EPA rules coming down the pipeline, one after another, causes further concern. Aptly called a ``train wreck'' by many, by forcing the retirement of one coal-fired plant after another, these rules will put at risk the reliability of our electric supply system.

Some state that a delay in implementation, enacted through legislation or otherwise, will be a sufficient remedy. However, a delay will not address the substantive concerns with this rule as written, including the significant issue of certain standards being unattainable.

I thank my colleague from Oklahoma for introducing this disapproval resolution and showing leadership on this issue. Over 200 companies and associations have joined the Senator from Oklahoma in calling for Utility MACT to be overturned.

I urge my colleagues to support this resolution disapproving the EPA's Utility MACT rule. By doing so, we take a step toward preventing higher electricity prices and grid unreliability while preserving clean air.

The point of supporting this Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval is to force EPA to go back to the drawing board to craft a narrower rule that properly protects human health in a manner that is not outweighed by its cost, that is actually attainable, and one that will not threaten the reliability of our electrical grid.

I yield the floor.

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