American Farm Bureau Federation Questionnaire for Presidential Candidates

President Obama:

Energy

Agriculture is an energy-intensive industry and volatile prices significantly affect the cost of growing crops. What policies will you support to meet our energy needs and strengthen energy security? What role do you see for agricultural-based biofuels in the nation’s energy supply?

Our rural communities, farmers, and ranchers can increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy. U.S. biofuel production is at its highest level in history. Last year, rural America produced enough renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel to meet roughly 8 percent of our needs, helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 years. We are increasing the level of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline, and the new Renewable Fuel Standard helped boost biodiesel production to nearly 1 billion gallons in 2011, supporting 39,000 jobs.

Environmental

In the context of regulating water quality, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increasingly encroached on states’ authority, from nutrient loadings in Florida to total maximum daily loads in the Chesapeake Bay to overall regulatory reach through proposing “guidance” that essentially gives EPA regulatory control over all waters. Do you support reaffirming the primary role of states in regulating both non-navigable waters and non-point source runoff?

Farmers are some of the best stewards of our environment, which is why my administration is working with more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers on more than 30 million acres of land to help conserve our lands and protect our waters. I have seen how we can bolster growth of our nation’s agricultural economy while protecting our environment. Now there is a lot of misinformation out there about changes to clean water standards. We are not going to be applying standards to waters that have not been historically protected. And all existing exemptions for agricultural discharges and waters are going to stay in place. I believe that we can work together to safeguard the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and those that support farming and economic growth.

Governor Romney:

Energy

Agriculture is an energy-intensive industry and volatile prices significantly affect the cost of growing crops. What policies will you support to meet our energy needs and strengthen energy security? What role do you see for agricultural-based biofuels in the nation’s energy supply?

An affordable, reliable supply of energy is crucial to America’s economic future. I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies, Canada and Mexico, to achieve energy independence on this continent by 2020. Taking full advantage of our energy resources will create millions of jobs, but this revolution in U.S. energy production will not just expand economic opportunity within the energy industry. Upstream businesses that supply the industry will experience a surge in demand, and perhaps the greatest benefit will occur downstream as agricultural businesses and manufacturers gain access to a more affordable and reliable supply of energy and feedstock. America’s energy resources can be a long-term competitive advantage for American agriculture and their development is key to the success of the industry.

The increased production of biofuels plays an important part in my plan to achieve energy independence. In order to support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources, I am in favor of maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard. I also support eliminating regulatory barriers to a diversification of the electrical grid, fuel system, and vehicle fleet. My policies broadly aim to ensure that all of our energy industries can sustainably become competitive, innovative and efficient.

Environmental

In the context of regulating water quality, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increasingly encroached on states’ authority, from nutrient loadings in Florida to total maximum daily loads in the Chesapeake Bay to overall regulatory reach through proposing “guidance” that essentially gives EPA regulatory control over all waters. Do you support reaffirming the primary role of states in regulating both non-navigable waters and non-point source runoff?

Government oversight is of course crucial to the protection of our environment. But statutes and regulations that were designed to protect public health and the environment have instead been seized on by environmentalists as tools to disrupt economic activity and the enjoyment of our nation’s environment altogether. President Obama’s Administration has embraced this approach, his EPA embarking on the most far-reaching regulatory scheme in American history.

Modernizing America’s complex environmental statutes, regulations, and permitting processes is crucial to ensuring that the nation can develop its resources safely and efficiently. Laws should promote a rational approach to regulation that takes cost into account. Regulations should be carefully crafted to support rather than impede development. Repetitive reviews and strategic lawsuits should not be allowed to endlessly delay progress or force the government into imposing rules behind closed doors that it would not approve in public. Energy development, economic growth, and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand if the government focuses on transparency and fairness instead of seeking to pick winners and repay political favors.

This questionairre can be accessed in its entirety at http://www.fb.org/index.php?action=legislative.2012presidentialQuestionnaire

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