Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture says he’s hopeful federal legislation designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions won’t be a financial burden for farmers. Bill Northey says because the so-called Green Jobs Initiative is still making its way through Congress, a compromise might allow it to spare both the environment and small businesses.
Northey says, “I do think, certainly within agriculture, there’s been some discussion of some possibilities of some credits and being able to use some credits for putting more carbon into our soil and doing other kinds of things.” He says the federal legislation has the potential to substantially increase production costs for small businesses, especially farmers.
Northey says, however, because the measure is not a “done deal,” there may still be room for compromise. He says, “The new chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, from Arkansas, is a little more reticent about climate change legislation than the old chairman was, Senator Harkin from Iowa, so I think anything that comes out of the Senate is going to have to be a little more understanding of business and going to have to look at agriculture and those credits a little more seriously than the House legislation did.”
Northey spoke in Cedar Falls on Thursday to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. That group is among those who’ve been critical of the legislation because they say utility companies, which emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, will be saddled with more expenses and those costs will be passed on to consumers.