CHS Inc. Executive Vice President and COO Leon Westbrock drafted a letter this week criticizing the Lieberman-Warner Bill pending in the U.S. Senate.
“Next week the U.S. Senate may vote on the Lieberman-Warner bill which is intended to address greenhouse gas issues through a complex program of allowances targeted at our nation’s key industries,” Westbrock wrote. “While this is an important issue for our country and the world, the approach of this legislation is flawed and detrimental to our nation’s energy industry at a time when supplies and pricing are already challenged.”
Westbrock called for legislators to delay action on the bill, which in its current form seeks to reduce the use of coal, petroleum and natural gas.
“As a farmer-owned company in the energy, renewable energy, grain marketing and food processing sectors, CHS believes this bill is blatantly unfair, especially to small and farmer-owned refineries focused on meeting the needs of agriculture and rural America,” Westbrock wrote. “This bill creates an auction program for greenhouse gas allowances that has costs well beyond the ability of many facilities to afford or pass on to consumers.
“Of equal concern, this bill totally misses an opportunity to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector,” Westbrock continued. “Today, the transportation sector emits 28% of the nation’s greenhouse gases, but this bill fails to require any reduction in tailpipe emissions. Finally, if enacted, this program will drive up consumers’ fuel costs significantly.”
Westbrock urged Congress to postpone passage of the bill and use “extreme caution” in redrafting it.