A coalition of food industry representatives last week sent each member of the U.S. Senate a letter outlining the industry's perspective on the proposed American Power Act. Introduced as a discussion draft last month by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), the act aims to enhance America's energy independence and reduce global climate change by adopting a cap-and-trade system to curb the release of greenhouse gas emissions.
Noting that climate change legislation will have both direct and indirect costs for the food industry, the coalition urged that the nation's energy policy should not come at the cost of the nation's food security. Climate legislation needs to be carefully designed so that it does not raise food prices for consumers at a time when families are already struggling to put food on the table, the group said.
The cap-and-trade program establishes a cap, or limit, on allowable greenhouse gas emissions and lets manufacturers and other companies trade pollution permits, or allowances. Over time the cap would be reduced, and facilities that emit large amounts of greenhouse gasses would be forced to either lower those emissions or fund offsetting efforts to do so.
The coalition said that the climate bill must effectively pre-empt other state and federal regulatory programs and that the Environmental Protection Agency not be allowed to lower the emissions threshold for facilities to be covered under the rules. The group also said that the bill must be designed to comply with U.S. trade obligations and that a viable offset system, including efforts to capture methane on the farm, is essential.
The coalition is comprised of 16 trade associations of food, feed, ingredient, beverage, and consumer product processors, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. In addition to IDFA, the members are:
- American Bakers Association
- American Feed Industry Association
- American Frozen Food Institute
- American Meat Institute
- Grocery Manufacturers Association
- Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils
- National Chicken Council
- National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
- National Meat Association
- National Oilseed Processors Association
- National Renderers Association
- National Turkey Federation
- North American Millers' Association
- Pet Food Institute
- Snack Food Association
For more information on the climate change legislation, contact Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president for policy and legislative affairs, at email@example.com or (202) 220-3512.
The letter is available here.