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Congress Takes Break

Written by Dennis Sun
       Sit down, take a deep breath and relax. Congress is on break until after Labor Day, so legally they can’t do any damage until they get back to Washington, D.C.
    Wyoming’s congressional members have got to be tired of all the battles, not to mention the politics of everything. Republicans don’t get much of a chance to be heard in Washington these days so we know it’s been hard for those representing Wyoming. We appreciate their hard work.
    It has been hard to really understand what goes on back in Washington in recent times. There is so much spin on every issue that is discussed, that no one knows the truth. The leadership in Congress nowadays is just way out of line. First they don’t know the issues, but I guess one doesn’t have to know the issues if you plan to pass laws without first reading the legislation. We saw examples of that with both the health care and the stimulus bills.
    One of the numerous bills troubling Republicans and agriculture is the one intended to address climate change, H.R. 2454. The legislation includes a goal of reducing green house gas emissions from their 2005 levels. We’d be shooting for a 17 percent reduction by 2020 and an 83 percent reduction by 2050. Reducing GHG emissions is the right thing to do, but at what cost?
    Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) recently quoted an American Farm Bureau Federation analysis that predicts 40 million acres of land would have to leave production agriculture to meet the goal. In place of crops, we’d plant trees. Another report predicted a loss of 78 million acres to trees. EPA is talking like the number is 56 million acres. Either way, that is a heck of a lot of acres to trees or carbon offsets.
    If this happens all over the world, with the exception of China and India who’ve said they won’t play the game, how are we going to feed the world? It takes a protein source and, whether it is meat or plants, it takes acres to grow it.
    Supporters of the bill say carbon offsets will never be worth the dollars to keep farmers from planting. The cost of gasoline and diesel are projected to rise, however, and Washington wants to replace coal with natural gas. That again hikes the cost of fertilizer, a much needed commodity if you’re working with a growing population and fewer acres. It’s just a never ending circle, isn’t it?
    I recently heard a story about a meeting between the Chairman of Exxon and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the U.S. House. She was telling the Chairman how she didn’t like oil and how bad it was for everyone because you had to drill for it. But she liked natural gas because it’s clean and available without drilling. Before he left the meeting, he had to tell her the truth. Sleep well tonight as you ponder thoughts of America’s “leaders.”
Dennis