RePower America sponsored one forum on clean energy and how legislative reforms would affect agriculture in Morocco on Monday night, April 19. Two more are scheduled. You can catch the next one this Wednesday, April 21 in the evening at the Tipton County Foundation Building at 6 p.m., or the final form next week at the Jennings County Public Library in North Vernon, also at 6 p.m.
Going into the meetings, Kent Yeager, when questioned before the meeting series began, expected to be one of the few on the forum panel with strong views opposing the Cap and Trade legislation proposals for agriculture. Yeager, Mauckport, is a policy specialist with Indiana Farm Bureau.
"The Cap and Trade concept would establish very clear winners and losers, even within agriculture," Yeager says. "Farm Bureau was initially opposed to this legislation based on the policy set by members, and is still opposed to it today."
Farm Bureau members, in fact, initiated a 'cap' campaign where every county Farm Bureau was asked to sign caps that would then be delivered to their senator or representative with the message explaining why Farm Bureau opposes such legislation. Yeager helped deliver the caps in Washington just a few days ago. He included a letter which stated that although the legislation has evolved some during the debate process over the past many months and may be somewhat improved form an agriculture standpoint, it still isn't acceptable to the agriculture industry.
"We need a sound energy policy I n this country," Yeager says. "Farm Bureau certainly agrees with that concept. Hopefully all of us can agree on that. We just can't agree with many of the things that are in the Cap and Trade legislation, even as it exists today."
The legislation would be especially detrimental to Indiana, Yeager believes, because Indiana is a large coal-producing state, and Indiana utilities burn lots of coal. One problem he and other Farm Bureau leaders have with the bill is that some forms of energy would seem to be subsidized at the expense of others.
He's not against wind and solar energy concepts per se, he notes. However, Yeager doesn't believe wind and solar energy can do the job of lessening dependence of foreign oil in the U.S. by themselves.
The bottom line is that Cap and Trade legislation if enacted as it exists today would be costly for agriculture overall, especially in Indiana, he concludes.