Amid all the news last week about the federal budget, pork producers may have overlooked two significant votes on the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Last Thursday, the House voted, 255-172, to block EPA’s controversial greenhouse gas rule, which would be a disaster for pork producers. Nineteen Democrats joined the Republicans in voting to prevent the agency from issuing any regulation to address climate change through greenhouse gas emissions. A day earlier, the Senate rejected the same language, but it was on a razor-thin 50-50 vote, with three Democrats joining the Republicans in favor.
The House vote was a turnaround from last year, when that chamber approved the Obama administration’s cap-and-trade bill, and the Senate action was hardly a vote of confidence in EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases. As one newspaper put it, EPA’s regulatory initiative is safe for now, but its prospects for long-term survival are dim. That’s good news for pork producers, for whom any effort to reduce greenhouse gases will trigger major increases in energy prices and production costs.