During a Jan. 20 conference call to explain the National Corn Growers Association’s opposition to the House cap and trade bill (HR2454), Jon Doggett tackled the legislation’s current status and future.

“This morning, the NCGA has joined with a number of other agriculture groups on a letter that will be sent to the Senate in support of a ‘disapproval resolution’ to be offered by Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska,” said Doggett, NCGA vice-president for public policy. “The resolution would stop EPA from promulgating rules to regulate greenhouse gases.”

Doggett said it is important to remember the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2007, “ruled that the EPA must — not ‘should’ but ‘must’ — regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. This has been a significant driver in the Congress to pass legislation to control greenhouse gases. A number of members of Congress want to avoid” such a regulatory regime.

“It will be interesting to see how Sen. Murkowski’s resolution will do in the Senate. Whether it will prevail, we’re not really sure. It would be very difficult for it to prevail in the House.”

Last year, when HR2454 came to a vote in the House, “remember it was some 1,500 pages in length with several hundred pages added at the last minute. … Because of the size and complexity of the bill, we took a neutral position pending some discussion and analysis of what the bill would do.”

On the Senate side, the NCGA has “been involved with Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and others to fashion provisions on potential (cap and trade) legislation moving in the Senate. We’re seeking to (push)… any provisions that would maximize the positives and minimize the negatives.”

Doggett said “a number of folks” have asked what impact the Jan. 19 election of a Massachusetts Republican to replace Ted Kennedy will have on cap and trade legislation. “Really, it probably won’t have very much (impact) because it doesn’t mitigate or stop the regulatory threat that’s still out there.

“Any bill that passes the Senate will need 60 votes. I think all bets are off for cap and trade legislation this year. But at some point, members of Congress will need to evaluate whether a regulatory regime or a legislative effort will do more good in the countryside.”

For background information please visit http://southeastfarmpress.com/legislation/environmental-legislation-0121/.

e-mail: dbennett@farmpress.com