In a letter sent to all members of the U.S. Senate, 49 national and state agricultural groups, including the American Sheep Industry Association, urged a vote in favor of S.J. Res. 26, a resolution to disapprove the regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) with the support of an additional 40 senators.
With the publication of its 'tailpipe' rule affecting mobile sources, EPA has set in place the framework for regulating stationary sources. Regulation of stationary sources will begin on Jan. 2, 2011, when these sources will be affected through such programs as Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V operating permits. While EPA has indicated it will start regulating larger emitters in excess of 50,000 tons annually, it has clearly signaled that it will phase in requirements for smaller emitters over time. Existing provisions of the CAA put these levels at 100 tons and 250 tons of emissions annually.
Without relief from Congress, it is fully expect that the application of these programs will have severe economic impacts on agriculture. Not only will producers likely incur increased input costs as a result of the regulatory impacts on other economic sectors but also agricultural producers will eventually be directly regulated.
Members on both sides of the aisle have said throughout the climate debate that this issue should be decided by Congress, not the EPA, stated the signators. S.J. Res. 26 offers the clearest and most sensible approach to assure this occurs. The sole issue is whether Congress will defer to a regulatory agency on a matter that affects virtually the entire economy.