News for the Ninth - Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer
By Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer
9th District of Missouri
With the return of spring, farmers are heading back to the fields to
help feed and fuel our nation. As a farmer, I am honored to advocate for
our farm families on the House Agriculture Committee.
Missouri's 9th District has more than 22,000 farms, covering more than
6.4 million acres of land. To put that in perspective, 72 percent of
the total land area of our congressional district is farmland.
Besides dealing with the ongoing debate over the President's disastrous
national energy tax in the form of cap-and-tax legislation, a big task
for the Agriculture Committee's plate this year is to make sure that
USDA implements the 2008 Farm Bill in a way that is consistent with
Congressional intent. The committee will start to hold hearings on the
2012 Farm Bill as early as this spring.
Agriculture is a bull's-eye industry for an energy tax because it is
energy-intensive. Whether it is fuel in the tractor, fertilizer for
crops, or delivery of food to the grocery store, agriculture uses a
great deal of energy throughout production. On average, 65 percent of
farmers' variable input costs are fuel, electricity, fertilizer, and
chemicals. Even a small increase in operating costs for our producers
will be devastating to American agriculture.
Last year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed an
"endangerment finding" stating that greenhouse gases, including carbon
dioxide, "threaten the public health and welfare of current and future
generations." These findings pave the way for EPA regulation of
emissions even though the EPA has admitted that it has not evaluated
possible job losses or shifts in employment that may occur due to its
rules and regulation.
At the end of the day, the EPA endangerment finding and increased
regulation is just another massive intrusion of government into the U.S.
economy. This action has the potential to stifle economic growth and
kill jobs, especially in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. New
EPA permitting processes and rules will cost billions of dollars to
implement and could potentially affect millions of small emitters such
as farms, hotels, hospitals, churches, and various other small
businesses. The rules will inject uncertainty into the economy, delay or
halt new construction, and deter investment.
To combat the aggressive overreach of the EPA, I have cosponsored
legislation introduced by Representatives Ike Skelton (D-MO), Collin
Peterson (D-MN) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) that would prevent the EPA
from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the authority of the
Clean Air Act, as well as change federal law to strengthen America's
renewable fuels industry.
Just like in business, the government needs to get out of the way and
let farmers work their land. Our farmers were the first conservationists
and environmentalists, and I will continue to listen to their concerns
and work hard on their behalf because they help feed and fuel our
CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I
encourage you to visit my website at http://luetkemeyer.house.gov/. For
those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices
in Columbia (573-886-8928), Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Hannibal
(573-231-1012) with your questions and concerns. If you want even
greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site at
http://www.youtube.com/user/BLuetkemeyer and my Facebook page at