Alexander Says Cap-and-Trade Would Burden American Farming, Raise Food Costs

Says House-Passed Legislation Would Add New Utility Bill to Every American Family and Farm

Posted on July 14, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that the House-passed climate change bill would add a new utility bill to the budget of every American farm, raising food prices for all Americans, and that instead Congress should adopt Republican proposals that offer “cheap, clean energy solutions.” During a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is a member, Alexander said that “a lot of the prosperity in America depends on two things: cheap energy and cheap food. Both have helped give us a high standard of living, create jobs and have the most productive agriculture operations in the world.” Alexander pointed out that when costs to farmers rise, food prices and other costs also go up. “Farmers especially don’t need another utility bill since farming is one of the most energy-intensive operations in our economy,” Alexander said, “and every time you add more utility bills, prices go up. When the price of gasoline goes up, so does the price of seed and feed and of operating farm machinery. And yet, the cap-and-trade program would deliberately raise the price of gasoline, which would increase food prices for all Americans. “Climate change is a problem, humans are causing it, and we need to deal with it, but the House-passed cap-and-trade bill does exactly the wrong thing—it’s a job-killing, $100 billion a year national energy tax that will add another utility bill to every American family. I think we need to stop and think about whether it’s the wisest policy to try and attack climate change by deliberately raising the price of energy.” Instead, Alexander said that Congress should consider Republican proposals to build 100 new nuclear power plants, encourage electric cars and trucks, explore offshore for oil and gas and double funding for research and development to make renewable energy cost competitive with other forms of energy. “Congress should adopt the low-cost option for dealing with climate change instead of sending a new utility bill to every American family and farm,” Alexander concluded.