On Monday Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that greenhouse gases threaten the health and welfare of the American people. She said that the finding is based on decades of research by hundreds of researchers. Jackson went on to say that the vast body of evidence not only remains unassailable, it's grown stronger, and it points to one conclusion: greenhouse gases from human activity are increasing at unprecedented rates and are adversely affecting the environment and health. Reaction to the announcement has been mixed.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says the decision by EPA to announce an endangerment finding on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could carry severe consequences for America's farmers and ranchers. He says AFBF firmly believes any regulations dealing with global warming that could negatively affect the ability to produce food and fiber for our nation and the world should go through the legislative process.
"We realize the EPA's stated intention is to focus this finding narrowly on specific industries, using particular thresholds, but we believe there is no protection in the provisions that prevent them from being applied broadly across all sectors, including farm and ranch families who produce livestock," Stallman said. "Due to the timing of the announcement, we also believe this move could have more to do with political science than climate science."
The National Corn Growers Association is also concerned about the impacts of the endangerment finding on farmers. President Darrin Ihnen said the intended purpose of the Clean Air Act was never to regulate every farm in America as part of the overall effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
However the Environmental Defense Fund applauded the announcement saying that this sets the stage for U.S. action as officials from across the world gather in Copenhagen to forge an international solution to global warming.
"The danger of global warming pollution is clear and present, the solutions are at hand, and the time for action is now," said Fred Krupp, President of EDF. "It's time for Congress to finish its work on U.S. legislation to cap and reduce the 19 million tons of heat-trapping pollution we emit every day. American leadership on climate change will strengthen our security, wean us off of foreign oil, and ensure that America wins the race to clean energy innovation in the global market place."