Farm state lawmakers led by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) have reached a compromise with Democratic leadership in the House on the so-called climate change bill that makes it more palatable to agriculture and biofuels interests.
Part of the agreement includes allowing USDA to have oversight for agricultural carbon offset programs instead of EPA. “The climate change bill will include a strong agriculture offset program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will allow farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners to participate fully in a market-based carbon offset program,” said Peterson. “This agreement also addresses concerns about international indirect land use provisions that unfairly restricted U.S. biofuels producers and exempts agriculture and forestry from the definition of a capped sector.”
The compromise over indirect land use issue was that bill sponsor Henry Waxman (D-CA) will ask the EPA to commission a study of indirect costs and that any method of counting those costs should be agreed to by both USDA and EPA.
Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, was pleased that Peterson and Waxman were able to reach a compromise on the issue. “We believe that additional study of the issue of indirect land use change will further demonstrate that these provisions should never have been a part of the 2007 energy law to begin with,” Buis said in a statement. “This is a good first step in a longer process, including full review by the House and Senate.”
The American Clean Energy and Security Act is expected to come up for a vote on Friday and President Obama encouraged passage during his press conference yesterday. “It is legislation that will finally spark a clean energy transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet,” Obama said.