25 June 2009

Farm Belt wins U.S. climate bill points: lawmaker

The climate bill advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives will reward farmers who plant trees or take other steps to control greenhouse gases, and remove for five years an obstacle to corn-based ethanol, farm-panel Chairman Collin Peterson said on Wednesday.

Later in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after meeting with a group of moderate Republicans, told reporters it was her "hope" the climate bill will be debated and passed on Friday.

Spokesman Drew Hammill added: "We intend to have a vote this week.As part of her drive to rally support for the legislation, Pelosi has invited former Vice President Al Gore, who won a Nobel Prize Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on global warming, to a press conference on Thursday in the Capitol.Rep. Collin Peterson, House Agriculture Committee chairman, also said he and Democratic leaders reached an agreement on the "biomass issue that had been hanging us up."

Peterson said that, under the agreement, the climate change legislation will use the 2008 farm law's definition of biomass, instead of a more restrictive one that had been in the bill.

The broader definition sought by agriculture interests would, for example, allow the use of downed trees and other natural materials in federal forest lands to produce biofuels.

Peterson noted that some environmentalists had been concerned, "this would allow people to go in and cut down certain forests."

He added: "That's not our interest."

"We think we have something that can work for agriculture," Peterson told reporters after summarizing a compromise with House Energy chairman Henry Waxman.

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Source: Reuters

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