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American Farmland Trust on the Failure of the Murkowski Amendment

Jennifer Morrill: 301-792-6238 (cell), jmorrill@farmland.org
Washington, D.C., June 10, 2010 —In a statement today, Jon Scholl, President of American Farmland Trust (AFT) said:

“The failure of the Murkowski Amendment to pass in the Senate today makes clear that efforts to delay Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation of green house gasses (GHG) under the Clean Air Act, through similar legislation or lawsuits, are not likely to succeed.

As the single largest user of land and water resources in the United States, agriculture has a significant impact on the nation’s environment. Agriculture also is one of the most cost effective ways to improve two of our nation’s most pressing environmental challenges—water quality and climate change. And, it is possible for agriculture to remain profitable while addressing these challenges.

The agriculture and conservation communities, and Congress, are certainly aware that the Supreme Court has mandated that in the absence of a legislative solution to address GHG, EPA must enact regulations under the Clean Air Act—even though most acknowledge that regulation is not the ideal solution.    

An independent analysis by Informa Economics, Inc., for AFT and the National Association of Wheat Growers concluded that a large segment of U.S. farmers and rural America can benefit significantly from properly structured clean energy legislation, with a net benefit to agriculture, and in particular wheat farmers. The study also concludes that if no climate change legislation is passed, direct regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would harm agriculture and farmers more than a bill.

The Informa Economics, Inc., analysis recommends four key policy points that U.S. farmers and ranchers should seek in climate and energy legislation:

  1. Carbon allowances distributed to the fertilizer industry are critical to keeping cost impacts down—and those allowances must be maintained and passed on to the farmer;
  2. Maximum carbon offsetting opportunities;
  3. Ensure continued enrollment in offset programs for as long as possible; and
  4. Involvement in establishing methodologies used to calculate sequestration rates for various carbon offsetting activities.

In addition, the Informa Economics, Inc., study points to billions of dollars of benefits flowing to agriculture through a Renewable Energy Standard, which is also part of a clean energy and climate legislative solution.

By maximizing agriculture’s participation in clean energy legislation, we can maximize the environmental benefits the bill will bring, and generate new income opportunities for farmers and ranchers who will be producing renewable energy and carbon offsets, and making other GHG reductions.



American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.

AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.

American Farmland Trust