Friday, July 24, 2009

Climate Bill: Chambliss wants numbers, more numbers

Common wisdom says climate-change legislation will get a more thorough vetting from agriculture's perspective in the Senate than it did in the House, because every senator represents some ag. In that spirit, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is busy collecting numbers.

On Wednesday, USDA released a preliminary study that Chambliss, ranking Republican on the Senate ag committee, requested last week. It says that despite early costs to agriculture, the industry as a whole will benefit through carbon offsets outlined in HR 2454, the House-passed bill -- and that the numbers er on the conservative side, so impacts could be lower and benefits higher.

But Chambliss isn't quite satisfied. He's also asked the Environmental Protection Agency to publicize an analysis it performed with Texas A&M University, and he asked Joseph Glauber, USDA's chief economist, for an impact study. EPA says its data is forthcoming. Chambliss and several other Republicans sent a letter to Glauber today, pressing for results.

Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) plan to introduce Senate legislation after the August break. Politico says some Democrats consider Boxer too confrontational for this issue.

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