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Debate Over Greenhouse Gas Regulation

Posted on December 21, 2009 06:00 by Andy Vance

This week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was moving forward with an "endangerment finding" alleging that so-called greenhouse gases are a hazard to human health and the environment.  This finding is of grave concern to agriculture in general and cattlemen in specific because it sets the stage for regulation of emissions of carbon, methane and other greenhouse gasses (GHG's) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and would give the EPA unprecedented control over every sector of the U.S. economy.

Congress has spent the better part of the year debating the issue via bills on "cap & trade" protocols where the government would cap a given industry's emissions of GHG's, but allow them to trade credits with other industry participants who don't emit as much.  As American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy specialist Paul Schlegel pointed out this week, this move by EPA comes at the height of a series of reports questioning the validity of climate change data, with documentation suggesting that numerous global researchers believed to have falsified or tampered with their own data to exacerbate the scope of the perceived crisis.

 “It’s premature to issue this kind of finding, especially given the recent controversy surrounding the scientific validity of alleged human contributions to climate change,” said Tamara Thies, NCBA chief environmental counsel.  “Regulation of greenhouse gases should be based on science, and it should be thoughtfully considered and voted on by Congress through a democratic process, not dictated by the EPA.”


Moreover, while those ruling doesn't itself regulate GHG's, it does place our country on the slippery slope More...