Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers’ Association (ABA), Washington, D.C., testified before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee on June 19, discussing the negative impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) potential lowering of its regulatory thresholds and the costs of Title V (permitting and prevention of significant deterioration rules) could have on bakers.

The move could be economically devastating for bakers, MacKie says. “In 2009, Administrator [Lisa P.] Jackson promised that the EPA would not regulate ‘every cow and Dunkin’ Donuts,’ but that is what would happen if bakers need to consider their CO2 emissions from dough,” MacKie says. “Yeast cells, which are living organisms, help dough rise and create CO2 as a byproduct, like we do when we breathe. The bottom line is that the cost of overly-broad proposed rules that regulate natural, agriculture-related CO2 will force American families to pay more for baked goods.”

According to the EPA’s calculations, the food industry represents less than 2/10 of 1% of emissions contributing to climate change and bakers are only a fraction of the food-processing sector. No one knows how expensive these requirements would be, but as an example, MacKie says some states have forced bakers to consider emissions controls that have ranged up to as much as $80,000 per ton removed. “Contrast that to less than $1,000 per ton to scrub sulfur from a coal-fired power plant and a mere $80 per ton to dispose of municipal garbage,” the ABA adds.