In a letter to Reps. Joe Barton (Texas) and Ike Skelton (Mo.), 175 state and national agriculture and related organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, supported the representatives' introduction of resolutions of disapproval regarding the decision of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move forward on regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
"Such regulatory actions will carry severe consequences for the U.S. economy, including America's farmers and ranchers, through increased input costs and international market disparities," the letter stated.
Both current and past administrations have acknowledged that the CAA is not the appropriate vehicle for establishing greenhouse gas policy. However, the EPA finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare will trigger CAA regulatory actions, essentially establishing greenhouse gas policy through the CAA by default. The compliance costs for these CAA programs would be overwhelming as millions of entities, including farms and ranches, would be subject to burdensome CAA regulations.
"The EPA rule itself claims to establish only a weak, indirect link between greenhouse gases and public health and welfare, going so far as to admit there are uncertainties over the net, direct health impacts of the greenhouse gases it is attempting to regulate," the letter further stated, adding that without an effective international agreement on emission reductions, unilateral action by the United States only serves to further damage its economy. EPA's finding puts the agricultural economy at grave risk based on allegations of a weak, indirect link to public health and welfare and despite the lack of any environmental benefit.