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Global Boiling: Filibustering Our Farmers’ Future

By Brad Johnson on August 17, 2009 at 10:45 am

"Global Boiling: Filibustering Our Farmers’ Future"

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U.S. Senators are attacking the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act as threatening farmers even though America is suffering from the ravages of a climate out of control — heat waves, floods, storms, droughts, and seasonal shifts. Scientific studies show global warming has already hurt American agriculture, and that the damages will grow catastrophic if action is not taken. In a new video, the Center for American Progress Action Fund argues that passage of a strong climate bill is imperative, and senators should stop filibustering our farmers’ future. Watch it:

The rising tide of climate change — the catastrophic droughts in Texas and California, the heat waves in Louisiana and Nebraska, the storms across the High Plains and the Midwest, the floods in North Dakota and Minnesota — require action. Instead, both Democratic and Republican senators are arguing that a limit on carbon pollution would be too costly for farmers:

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): “No farmers will escape the effect of this bill.” [Senate agriculture hearing, 7/22/09]

Jim Inhofe (R-OK): “I had the opportunity of going and talking to the national farm co-ops the other day and addressed to them if we were to pass the cap-and-trade system what that would do to my folks in Oklahoma and all of America . . . It would be disastrous for our farmers in America.” [Senate floor, 7/15/09]

Mike Johanns (R-NE): “The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill would have a significant if not severe impact on agriculture. . . . Different studies come up with varied numbers but they all paint the same picture: agriculture loses.” [Senate floor, 7/20/09]

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR): “I just worry if you’ve taken the kind of look at USDA at the potential impact of the house legislation on the food processing industry and the disproportionate costs on that industry that could lead to really high, higher food prices in these difficult economic times.” [Senate agriculture hearing, 7/22/09]

Ben Nelson (D-NE): “I’m concerned that if this is going to be the approach that is taken, that it be the most benign approach to balancing the economy and the environment. It’s not just agriculture, it’s people turning on their lights and businesses as well.” [Senate agriculture hearing, 7/22/09]

John Thune (R-SD): “They’re worried about the EPA regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and what that would mean for the future of the production of agriculture.” [Senate agriculture hearing, 7/22/09]

The effort to filibuster clean energy legislation means that a minority of senators can block the effort to preserve the livelihood of farmers in America. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) have committed to cloture — standing against the filibuster. The rest of the senators need to join them.

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