The American Clean Energy and Security Act was introduced in the House last week and the National Corn Growers are concerned with the contents of the bill. NCGA sent a letter to Representative Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The letter questioned the current version, and outlined the potential for negative economic impacts to the agriculture sector if a cap-and-trade system is not structured properly.
"After reviewing the legislation, we can see the bill does not clearly provide for a mechanism by which corn growers can sell carbon credits on the market," NCGA President Bob Dickey said. "We strongly believe the bill will increase input costs without specific opportunities to offset those additions. We cannot support the American Clean Energy and Security Act in absence of the provisions that we have explained in some length to the Committee."
Recognizing the wide range of carbon mitigation or sequestration benefits that agriculture can provide is one of the most important principles for any cap-and-trade legislation. This would allow farmers to earn the potential revenue from carbon sequestration trading to offset increased input costs of such items as diesel, fertilizer and steel. Currently agricultural offsets are not mentioned in the legislation.
"In recent years, our grower members have seen increasingly higher input costs," Dickey said. "Each year, growers must commit even more funds to put a crop in the ground and it would be beneficial to have the opportunity to generate revenue from greenhouse gas reduction practices. Our organization has met with several Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee and we fully appreciate their willingness to sit down and work with us on important issue. However, we cannot support this legislation in its current form."