Farmers under the gun in Obama “clean power plan”

Hidden in the thicket of the Obama administration’s elaborate scheme to transform the U.S. energy sector away from fossil fuels is a section that puts American farmers squarely in Washington’s bull’s eye.

The Clean Power Plan, the final version of which was unveiled on August 3, 2015, is generally understood to target emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants in the name of combatting climate change, formerly known as global warming. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels within 25 years.

But the plan is about much more than destroying the coal industry before closing in on natural-gas producers as a means of clearing the path for otherwise uncompetitive wind and solar power. The White House wants to use its alleged concern for the climate as an excuse to subject farmers to “sustainability” standards cooked up by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In an eye-opening article in the Wall Street Journal (July 11), Bruce E. Dale, professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Michigan State University, points out that EPA “is counting biogenetic-carbon emissions as if they were the same as fossil-carbon emissions. They are not.” Dale explains that agricultural products such as grains and oilseeds contain biogenetic carbon, which comes from the atmosphere and returns to the atmosphere when these products are consumed, “such as when human beings eat bread and then breathe out the carbon dioxide resulting from the breakdown of bread in the body.” Biogenetic carbon, he says, “cannot contribute to climate change.”

“Unjustified Carbon Tax on American Farmers”

Lane notes that EPA’s Clean Power Plan “proposes to penalize biogenetic carbon emissions unless food processors (bakers, brewers, grain processors) or energy producers (like utilities using seed hulls to produce electricity) can prove that they used ‘sustainably-derived’ agricultural feedstocks.” This, he believes, will impose “an unjustified carbon tax on American farmers.”

By appointing itself the biogenetic overlord of American farmers, EPA, not for the first time, is engaging in “mission creep.” It is intruding on bureaucratic territory that has traditionally belonged to the Department of Agriculture. As Brian Seasholes, a former research fellow at the Reason Foundation, pointed out in a recent email, “The growing reach of land-use-control laws, coupled with increasingly aggressive pressure groups looking to find ‘regulatable’ things on people’s land, and the growing power of remote sensing devices (satellite and drone imagery) is a massive and growing threat to landowners.”

Regulating “Sustainability” in the Farm Field

Whatever the case may be for fossil fuels’ influence on the climate, EPA has willfully distorted the issue with its plan to regulate biogenetic-carbon emissions as if it were fossil-carbon emissions. In so doing, Lane says, EPA is now “trying to regulate ‘sustainability’ in the farm field.

The Clean Power Plan has something in common with another EPA scheme to assert regulatory authority over millions of acres of private land, the “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS rule. Under the guise of “protecting” isolated bodies of water, WOTUS would impose federal zoning on farms and other rural properties throughout the country. Like WOTUS, the Clean Power Plan has been stayed nationwide by a federal court pending the outcome of numerous lawsuits against EPA.

Neither rule was enacted by Congress; both are products of Washington’s sprawling bureaucracy. Both show the threat the administrative regulatory state poses to liberty and prosperity.

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About the Author: Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT.

  • Richard

    The first thing President Trump needs to do is get rid of the EPA.

    • CaptTurbo

      I would think that should come second after arresting all the traitors from the Obama regime starting with Hillary for treason and sedition. .

  • Pam Dunn

    The Enviro-NAZIS trying to destroy the USA as usual. It’s TIME to END all the “Departments/Agencies NOT mentioned in the Constitution; END the GREEDY POWER and CONTROL of the Bankers with the “Fed” reserve. END the WASTE of Obamacare and allow insurance companies to sell policies across state borders.
    It’s TIME to end the STUPIDITY and over reach of the Federal government and restrict it BACK to the COnstitution and to RESTORE STATES RIGHTS that the thug Lincoln ended with the War of Northern Aggression.

  • AllenBarclayAllen

    Farming can’t contribute any to the overall CO2 ! Because it simply uses CO2 from the atmosphere and returned it , but not all is returned because roots of plants are not all used , making Biometric CO2 a carbon register in time ! And a huge defiset at that !
    All of earths atmosphere water CO2 comes from volcanic activity at all tectonic plates burning of Fossil fuel at those plates borders to replace that CO2 defiset being greated in time of all plant growth !
    Our use of CO2 perducing fossil fuel doesn’t change anything ! And they always forget the huge amounts of water that is perduced by burning it wether we use it or the tectonic plates burns it ! And no one considers what is lost in space water or CO2 ! If it wasn’t for tectonic plates movement we would have no atmosphere or water ! Now NASA knows this from kbservation of other planets and moons in our solersystem , but weather they will admit that under this current Administration of scientific Bafoons remains to be seen ! How do you explain anything to someone who’s education does not go above chicken littles ,” The Sky is Falling” ??

    • AllenBarclayAllen

      It’s disinguinious at best! Because Obama had been trying to steel Russia’s oil and feed it drictly to Europewith a pipeline so they can carbon tax it ! Ya a demitra Islamic global climate carbon tax with the EU as the world’s distributer ! No wonder England left the EU ,their not fooled by this taxation without representation the United nations of Islam now I’d trying to pull on the rear of the world !
      But this Biometric thing ! What the hell is that but a bunch of ignorant bastards trying to steel all our farm land ! Remember WOTUS ! Shot down in flames by supreme Court ! Just imagine the ignorance !!??
      A drunk wanders on your property and takes a piss in your driveway the EPA is there to shot the picture ! Next day WOTUS clames your property you spent your life’s savings on !
      Property the law lobby ,the biggest lobby , is predisposed to peryect from tyrants like Obama fooling around with his pen ! What was supreme Court supposed to do that is against their entire establishment of lawyers and law in the United states ! Not going to happen Obama ! You just exposed how stupid you really are about law in the United states you couldn’t have possibly made a grade above a D in law school ! Just whare do you think rpthe Democratic gets most of its money from ! It’s the Law lobby moron !

  • Cass Moret

    EPA is on a mission to destroy the US energy industry. BO’s most powerful tool will require a strong person to put it on a leash. The bureaucracy is well entrenched, will fight tooth and claw, and realistically will not go away. The head of EPA will be the most important cabinet appointment Trump will make, more important even than DOJ, DOD or State.

  • Will Godbey

    I agree, President Trump would do well to get rid of the “Evil People’s Alliance” and return common sense to our government.