FarmPolicy

November 22, 2019

House Ag Committee Hearing: EPA Indirect Land Use Proposal Leads to Questions on Climate Change Legislation; Budget; Food Security; and H1N1

House Ag Committee Hearing: EPA Indirect Land Use Proposal Leads to Questions on Climate Change Legislation

A news release issued yesterday by the House Agriculture Committee stated that, “Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research held a hearing to review the impact of the indirect land use and renewable biomass provisions in the renewable fuel standard.

“‘We are very upset with the path EPA has taken us down and sent that message back loud and clear in today’s hearing,’ said Chairman Tim Holden of Pennsylvania. ‘If we continue with these provisions in EISA [Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007], we will not only harm the biofuels industry but also shortchange a large part of the country before we even get started. We need to expand the reach of biofuels, not hamper the farmer and forest owner.’”

A complete list of witnesses and their opening statements from yesterday’s hearing can be viewed here.

The tone of yesterday’s hearing was set early when House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) delivered a passionate assessment regarding developments over the EPA proposed rule and included additional comments on possible climate change legislation. Chairman Peterson’s comments can be heard here in their entirety (MP3-3:13).

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EPA Proposed Rule: Indirect Land Use- Peer Reviewed; Climate Change; Organic Funding; and the Rural Economy

EPA Proposed Rule- Indirect Land Use- Peer Reviewed

Matthew L. Wald reported in today’s New York Times that, “The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed rules to limit emissions of climate-changing gases [complete details available here] from the manufacture of ethanol, a step that would probably curtail the expansion of corn ethanol production.

In its first major policy steps on ethanol, the administration said it would help producers of biofuels who could not get credit to refinance their operations, and assist them in selling their products through a growing network of retail fuel distributors and by encouraging the manufacture of vehicles to burn it.

It said it was forming a biofuels working group made up of the agriculture and energy departments and the Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate federal actions. A goal of the group is to quickly dispense money allocated in the federal stimulus package and two previous energy bills.”

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Climate Change; Biofuels; Food Assistance; HSUS- Animal Agriculture; and H1NI

Climate Change- Background

As the climate change issue garners increasing attention in the debate over the future direction of U.S. farm policy, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released an interesting background report entitled, “Potential Impacts of Climate Change in the United States.”

In part, the preface of the report stated that, “This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) paper—prepared at the request of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources—presents an overview of the current understanding of the impacts of climate change in the United States, emphasizing the wide range of uncertainty about the magnitude and timing of those impacts and the implications of that uncertainty for the formulation of effective policy responses. The analysis draws from numerous published sources to summarize the current state of climate science and provide a conceptual framework for addressing climate change as an economic concern. In keeping with CBO’s mandate to provide objective, impartial analysis, the paper makes no recommendations.”

The CBO report indicated that, “Human activities around the world—primarily fossil fuel use, forestry, and agriculture—are producing growing quantities of emissions of greenhouse gases, other gases, and particulates and are also greatly altering the Earth’s vegetative cover. A strong consensus has developed in the expert community that if allowed to continue unabated, the accumulation of those substances in the atmosphere and oceans, coupled with widespread changes in patterns of land use, will have extensive, highly uncertain, but potentially serious and costly impacts on regional climate and ocean conditions throughout the world.”

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Biofuels-Indirect Land Use; Executive Branch Farm Policy Perspectives; Budget; Climate Change; and H1N1

Biofuels- Indirect Land Use

Picking up on Friday’s update regarding the news that the Office of Management and Budget had concluded the review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule regarding the RFS-2 regulation and indirect land use, Friday’s Commodity News for Tomorrow report (CME Group, Dow Jones) explained that, “The White House has cleared the way for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to propose a federal standard for measuring greenhouse-gas emissions from biofuels.

The Office of Management and Budget disclosed on Wednesday that it concluded its review, almost three months after the EPA first submitted the proposal. The ethanol industry has been awaiting the standard, which is mandated by a 2007 law that requires more biofuels be blended into the gasoline supply. The standard will affect future production, since new ethanol plants must produce increasingly cleaner fuels.”

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Biofuels: Indirect Land Use; Food Security; Ag Economy; Egg Production; EU-CAP Issues; and H1N1 Flu Update

Biofuels: Indirect Land Use

Reuters news reported yesterday that, “The White House has finished a review of a rule that aims to cut emissions from alternative motor fuels like ethanol, federal environmental regulators said on Thursday.

The Office of Management and Budget has completed the review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule and ‘we will determine what further action to take,’ the EPA said in a prepared statement.

“The action occurred on Wednesday, a government Web site showed.”

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