TFI: Climate Bill Threatens Fertilizer, Ag Industries

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Ford B. West explains the ag industry’s concerns about the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week. What’s on the list?

As reported in the June 30 issue of CropLife eNews (“Climate Change Bill Passes House”), the House passed the bill (H.R. 2454) by a vote of 219 to 212. In response, TFI’s West issued the following statement:

“TFI takes exception to H.R. 2454. As written, the legislation will render the U.S. nitrogen industry uncompetitive and threatens to force fertilizer production overseas to countries that do not regulate emissions resulting in a loss both for the economy and for the cause of reducing CO2 emissions.

“We believe that H.R. 2454 will cause fuel switching and drive up the price of natural gas. Every $3 increase in the price of natural gas adds more than $1 billion to the cost of nitrogen production. Additional increases in the domestic price of natural gas caused by fuel switching will lead to an even more severe competitive disadvantage. U.S. producers will face a stark choice of losing market share to imports or moving production overseas — neither choice is good for the U.S. economy, the environment, or U.S. food security.

“TFI also believes that U.S. farmers can play an important role in the reduction of climate change related emissions. Nevertheless, H.R. 2454 lists several agricultural practices to avoid or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that reflect a lack of understanding of the science behind the nitrogen cycle and the essential role of plant nutrients in food production. GHG emissions can come from all types of nitrogen sources applied to the soil, regardless of whether these are applied as commercial fertilizer or manure. Whether a farmer chooses to use commercial or organic fertilizer sources, they need to adopt best management practices.

“The Waxman-Markey legislation jeopardizes the domestic fertilizer industry that is such a vital link in food production, food security, and the U.S. economy. We believe that it is important for Congress to implement a climate change policy that preserves our ability to compete in a global marketplace while reducing GHG emissions to protect the environment.”

(Source: The Fertilizer Institute news release)

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