Climate change bill damaging to ag, rural America, CHS leaders say
ST PAUL, Minn. (July 17, 2009) – As the Waxman-Markey climate change bill gains U.S. Senate focus, CHS leaders and other agriculture and refining industry representatives are voicing concern about both its effectiveness and risk for rural America.
“We believe this bill is overwhelmingly unfair to refiners by requiring them to bear a disproportionate and costly burden, while missing a major opportunity to reduce vehicle tailpipe emissions,” says Dan Knepper, vice president, CHS Energy Operations. “Its requirements jeopardize the viability of small refiners, particularly domestic, cooperatively owned operations.”
Knepper – who oversees CHS refining, pipelines and related operations – was among a group calling on more than a dozen key congressional offices in mid July to voice concern about the pending climate change bill. He was joined by CHS Director Richard Owen and CHS Refinery Manager Pat Kimmet, along with CHS Washington DC office staff, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives representatives and leaders from several small, rural refineries that would be heavily affected by the legislation.
The bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is headed for Senate consideration, although opinions vary widely on the timing of any action. The Waxman-Markey measure seeks to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG) by establishing a “cap and trade” system which requires utilities, refiners and other industries which produce carbon dioxide to purchase “credits’ which would become more scarce and costly each year. The bill does not, however, directly address vehicle tailpipe emissions, the source of a high percentage of carbon dioxide emissions.
“Our visits were intended to be educational and were definitely worthwhile,” Knepper says. “It’s important that lawmakers and their staffs realize that this bill would put the survivability of small refineries at risk, potentially eliminating the predominant source of fuel for agriculture and rural America.
“CHS operations have a proud history of environmental stewardship, but we believe there are fairer, more effective, and more economically sound ways to address concern over GHG and climate change.”
To voice concern to elected officials, visit http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ and enter your zip code to identify and send a message to your members of Congress.