As a Montana farmer and as a director for CHS Inc., an agricultural cooperative owned by farmers across our state and throughout the U.S., I want to extend my thanks for the support and thoughtful consideration Sen. Max Baucus has demonstrated during the ongoing debate over climate change/cap and trade legislation (see “Cap and trade-off,” Dec. 3, 2009).
This is a very complex issue with significant implications for all agricultural producers and those who serve them. We have a great deal of concern over the current Waxman-Markey Bill, approved earlier this year in the U.S. House. CHS operates a small refinery at Laurel, whose primary markets are agriculture and rural America. We estimate the economic burden of the House-approved bill on our refinery could be well over $600 million a year.
As a farmer-owned company, CHS has a deeply rooted commitment to environmental stewardship within all of its operations, but we believe there are fairer, more effective and more economically sound means of addressing concern over climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
We appreciate the time Baucus and his staff have devoted to listening to the concerns of small refiners and agricultural companies like CHS. The senator has a solid understanding of the implications of the House version of the climate bill. In his role as the senior member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, he has helped create a version of the bill more favorable to those who are important economic contributors to agriculture and energy in this state.
While there is a long road ahead on this issue, those of us in Montana should be grateful that Baucus is providing important leadership that understands the needs of this state’s farmers and the businesses that serve them.