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Armstrong joins bipartisan balk of climate disclosure rule, cites impact on farmers

“We know that America’s farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of our environment, but unelected bureaucrats in DC believe they should be burdened with numerous climate disclosure requirements,” said Congressman Kelly Armstrong.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong joined 116 members of Congress to send a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission expressing concerns that a proposed rule mandating extensive climate disclosures by public companies would negatively affect farmer.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong joined 116 members of Congress to send a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission expressing concerns that a proposed rule mandating extensive climate disclosures by public companies would negatively affect farmer.
Dickinson Press file photo
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Concerns with the negative impact that a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rule would have on the agriculture community prompted 116 members of Congress to send a letter calling the rule a "significant and unworkable regulatory burden."

The Enhanced and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors rule, issued by the SEC on March 21, 2022, if adopted, would require certain climate-related disclosures in registration and periodic reports.

Opponents of the rule, including Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), say the proposed rule would require public companies to include climate-related information in their annual reports. A bipartisan rebuke of the rule claims that farmers would be forced to give burdensome climate data to public companies under SEC's proposed ESG rule at a detriment to an industry with a valued contribution of over $1 trillion to the U.S. GDP.

Proponents of the rule include the conservation nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) who say that the rule, if enacted, would mark a significant step toward holding businesses accountable for their impact on global warming.

Armstrong released a statement last week, calling the rule a "disaster" for agriculture in North Dakota.

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“We know that America’s farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of our environment, but unelected bureaucrats in DC believe they should be burdened with numerous climate disclosure requirements,” Armstrong said in a statement in last week. “The proposed rule would be a disaster for agriculture in North Dakota and do nothing to keep our air and water clean. I urge the SEC to withdraw it.”

Armstrong and a bipartisan coalition of Congress argue that the rule poses significant threat to farms, as it could prevent them from being able to sell their products to public companies. The letter issued to the SEC by the bipartisan coalition asserts that most farmers do not have the resources necessary to gather all the information required by the proposed rule.

“Unelected bureaucrats in Washington who have never stepped foot on a farm should not have such an intrusive and detrimental influence on how farmers take care of their land,” Rep. John Rose (R-TN) said. “The SEC has clearly overstepped its bounds and proposed a rule that would have devastating effects on our farmers. They should listen to farmers and reverse this terrible proposal before putting our entire nationwide supply of safe and affordable food and agricultural products at risk.”

According to the SEC, the proposed rule seeks to "require registrants to include certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and periodic reports, including information about climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on their business, results of operations, or financial condition."

The agriculture sector provides nearly every raw product that goes into the supply chain, and while farmers and ranchers would not be required to report directly to the SEC, many of the regulatory requirements of this rule would fall on farmers as a condition of doing business with public companies covered by the proposed rule.

If passed with an effective date this December, the new climate reporting requirements would be phased in from fiscal year 2023 to fiscal year 2027, the SEC said.

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