Wicker: Draconian Climate Regulations Would Burden Miss. Farmers, Foresters

June 3, 2014

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today expressed his concerns with new Environment Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on carbon emissions during a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee hearing. The hearing specifically addressed “Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Hunting in an Era of Changing Climate.”

“Yesterday, as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced a new set of rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants,” Wicker said. “These regulations would have little effect on the climate, but the rules would have a negative effect on the livelihood of all energy users, including the farmers, foresters, and fishermen who are the focus of today’s hearing.

“These industries already face a myriad of challenges in a difficult economic environment. But at what cost are we going to hurt these economic sectors in the pursuit of aggressive but dubious climate regulations? The costs to these industries are assured to go up, but the benefits are not.”

EPA’s proposed rules have been studied by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which recently released a report analyzing their impact. The group, which represents businesses and trade organizations, estimated that the regulations could increase electricity costs by $289 billion by 2030.

“Farmers have been managing their crops effectively and adapting to variable climate conditions for generations and generations. This is nothing new. Unfortunately, this generation will have to cope with higher electricity costs because of questionable climate regulations. For farmers who properly manage their land, a changing climate is not the problem, but burdensome regulations that increase the cost of farm production are.”

Wicker also noted the many economic benefits and services of America’s forests, which would be adversely affected by the new regulations.

“Forestry in Mississippi is a $14 billion industry and supports more than 63,000 full- and part-time jobs,” Wicker said. “Healthy, productive, and well-managed forests cover more than 60 percent of my home state. These healthy forests support industry that employs 25 percent of Mississippi’s manufacturing workforce. Given the current depressed market for forestry goods, higher prices for electricity would only worsen industry problems. For foresters who properly manage their trees, a changing climate is not the problem, but onerous regulations that increase the cost of forestry production are.

“We should be creating jobs and strengthening the economy, not hindering it,” Wicker concluded.