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67 of the Dirtiest Power Plants off the Hook in Current Climate Legislation

For Immediate Release: 
Friday, July 10, 2009

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2009 – The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), narrowly approved in the House, is an important first step toward slowing climate change. Unfortunately, the agriculture provisions of the bill open two loopholes that threaten to let power plants and other big climate polluters off the hook and slow progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
An analysis conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) details that ACES will:

  • Allow polluters to take credit for meeting their required pollution reductions by paying farmers, not to put new conservation practices in place, but simply to keep doing what they were already doing.  This could allow the equivalent of over 67 of the dirtiest power plants to avoid any controls on greenhouse gas emissions while missing the opportunity to encourage farmers to do more to protect the climate.
  • The bill also provides no guarantee that key conservation practices that are generating credits for polluters will actually stay in place over the long-term.

“The stated purpose of this landmark legislation is to reduce the carbon emissions that threaten the health and well being of our planet and its inhabitants. Letting polluters take credit for practices farmers already have in place not only lets the polluters off the hook it also squanders the opportunity for agriculture to play a critical role in fighting climate change,” said Craig Cox, EWG’s Midwest vice-president.
“Agriculture faces a host of threats from climate change, and should be on the front lines in this fight. Instead, the agricultural provisions in ACES lack the long-term mechanisms needed to ensure carbon emissions are properly sequestered,” Cox said.
“We urge the Senate to close these polluter loopholes and enact agricultural provisions that will make farmers and ranchers credible and effective partners in the fight against climate change,” Cox concluded.

Go here for the full analysis:

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.  The group’s farm subsidy database can be found at

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