More Energy Bill Fallout

More Energy Bill Fallout

More Energy Bill Fallout. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told a Senate panel Tuesday that climate change legislation is not just about increased costs to agriculture - but energy savings, new technologies and rural jobs. Vilsack told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee USDA is still working up a cost-benefit analysis of the narrowly passed House climate change bill. But the Secretary told skeptical GOP Senators - valuable carbon offsets from new technologies can make the effort more cost-effective for agriculture and rural areas

VILSACK: When you create bio-refineries and regional opportunities to use the waste product of agricultural production for fuel you have created less transportation costs and you have created yet another income source.

But Missouri Republican Kit Bond argued energy producing methane digesters - for example - won’t come cheaply.     

BOND: Sure if we can reuse it but in California they are costing between two and three million dollars. How do you make that pencil out for a farmer?

Vilsack, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the Secretaries of Energy and Interior endorsed the Senate’s effort to write a climate bill - though Vilsack refused last month to endorse the House version - or back a USDA lead-role in running a carbon capture program. But Vilsack says agriculture can be a winner if a carbon capture and credit trading program is done right.
VILSACK: I think we are on the cusp of a revitalized rural America and I am very confident with the broadband money, with the climate change, with the energy policy that you are going to see a significant increase in economic opportunity in rural America.
Farm Bureau and other ag groups that opposed the House bill complain not all producers are in regions or commodities that could benefit from carbon offsets - and charge the effort would mean unilateral disarmament to China, India and others that won’t reduce their carbon pollution. Senate Democrats remain 15 to 20 votes short of the 60 needed to pass a bill - with Democrats from coal and rust belt states looking for more help for their industries before coming on board.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

Previous ReportFarm Toys
Next ReportWhy Solar?