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Rural people on front lines of climate change; support clean energy

To the editor:

These past few weeks, Center for Rural Affairs staff have been busy talking to rural people about climate change.

The economic health and vitality of rural communities is closely tied to industries dependent on a stable climate, like farming, ranching, forestry and tourism. These industries employ rural people and keep our communities viable.

Many farmers, ranchers, small business owners and small town leaders recognize climate change as a threat to our way of life. We support measures to curb the effects of climate change, like emissions standards for existing power plants. These actions represent an opportunity that will help us thrive.

A growing number of Americans believe climate change is occurring, and favor policy changes that mitigate damage.

For generations, farmers, ranchers and rural people have found common-sense solutions to pressing problems. We believe our nation’s farmers and ranchers can play a key role in developing agricultural practices that capture carbon and build soils. Small town manufacturers play an equally important role in developing renewable energy technology.

By using a mix of clean energy and innovative agricultural practices, we can make a difference. Strong and reasonable emissions standards that give states the freedom they need to forge their own path to compliance will help us develop a thriving rural economy. But we can’t do it without strong carbon emission rules. We urge farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners to support emissions standards that make a difference for our working lands and small towns.

Virginia Meyer, Center for Rural Affairs

Lyons, NE