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Peterson: Democrats Back to Square One on Climate Bill

House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) on Friday said climate change bill negotiators are heading back to the drawing board after discussions between Democrats “blew up last night.—

A meeting between chairmen drafting the climate bill and Democrats on the Agriculture Committee “by and large blew up last night— over the issue of offsets, Peterson said.

Specifically, he said, Agriculture Democrats rejected a concept pitched by bill drafters that would set money aside for a new greenhouse gas conservation program tied together with some offsets.

“It’s a whole new concept being brought in at the last minute,— Peterson said. “Many didn’t like it. … The bottom line is we’re not going to consider anything unless we actually see the language and have it for three or four days so we can figure out what it does.—

Peterson said he hopes to find some resolution later Friday when he heads into another meeting with Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), White House officials and farm groups.

But for now, he said, there is no proposal on the table to resolve the biggest concern among Democrats with agricultural interests: how to ensure the offset program works for farmers.

“We’re back to how do we deal — we want USDA to run our offset program; they want EPA to run it,— Peterson said. “Not that we’re necessarily against the EPA; they just speak a different language. They don’t have the infrastructure out there to deal with us.—

Added Peterson, “I’m tired of this running around in circles.—

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