Smith Responds To Secretary Vilsack's Climate Change Statements
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today responded to comments by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack claiming the economic benefits of cap and trade legislation to farmers and ranchers will outweigh added energy costs.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act in late June. The bill will impose new greenhouse gas emissions standards and efficiency standards across the U.S. economy.
"This bill imposes enormous taxes and restrictions on energy use - placing an especially heavy burden on rural America and our nation's energy producers. Even a small increase in operating costs could devastate farmers and ranchers, as Secretary Vilsack well knows. U.S. agriculture producers will also be at a severe economic disadvantage compared to farmers in nations which do not have a cap-and-trade system," Smith said.
Secretary Vilsack is scheduled to hold a "Rural Tour" forum in Scottsbluff in late September to discuss production agriculture.
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 the legislation.