Lucas leads 100+ Republicans in protecting American ag from ‘overreaching SEC’

More than 100 Republicans recently signed on as original cosponsors of legislation sponsored last week by U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) that would prohibit the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from requiring an issuer to disclose information related to certain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

“In March, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission proposed an onerous and unwieldy climate disclosure rule that will undoubtedly impact America’s family farms and ranches,” Rep. Lucas tweeted on Sept. 29. “Today, I introduced legislation to protect American agriculture from an overreaching SEC.”

The Protect Farmers from the SEC Act, H.R. 9063, would amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to prohibit the SEC from requiring that issuers disclose such information related to GHGs, according to the congressional record bill summary.

“The SEC’s climate disclosure rule undermines the materiality standard for environmental policy purposes and is so unwieldy and convoluted that publicly traded companies will be forced to require small, independent, family farms to report on-farm data regarding individual operations and day-to-day activities,” the congressman posted Friday on Facebook.

Specifically, the SEC has proposed a rule that would require SEC registrants to provide information about climate-related risks that could impact their business or financial condition, the lawmakers contend.

The SEC’s proposed Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors would require companies to report their direct emissions (Scope 1), emissions primarily resulting from the generation of electricity they consume (Scope 2), and all other indirect emissions (Scope 3).

According to the lawmakers and different farm groups, Scope 3 would include emissions from the vast majority of farming and ranching operations. They’re also concerned that farmers and ranchers could be forced to report personal information and business-related data, and say the SEC proposal would be burdensome and expensive for many small and mid-sized farmers to comply.

“The SEC is an independent financial regulator, whose statutory authority reflects its narrow focus on financial markets – not reconstructing America’s farm economy and meddling in capital allocation,” Lucas said in a written statement on Sept. 29.

H.R. 9063 has garnered support from numerous organizations, including the National Cotton Council, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Pork Producers Council, USA Rice, the American Sugar Alliance, the American Soybean Association, the National Potato Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and the Agricultural Retailers Association.