Carbon cap and trade legislation is effectively "dead" in Congress, House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson told feed industry executives Monday, according to The chief struggle over carbon regulation is now solely being played out in and around the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Senate isn't just short of the votes for a cap-and-trade measure like what passed the House last June, it's short of the votes for any significant climate measure at all. Peterson confirmed the whispers on Capitol Hill — that environmental lobbyists are scaling back their efforts on a large-scale climate bill because they too have come to privately accept that it won't happen this year.

"The environmental community has basically stood down and they're pulling all of their money out of the effort and all their lobbying," Peterson said. "So it's dead."

"So the issue now is-- is the EPA going to try to regulate this under the Clean Air Act?" Peterson said. That was almost certainly a rhetorical question, because the answer is obviously yes. In fact, they've already started.

In 2009, the EPA ruled that greenhouse gasses were an "endangerment" to humans, a move that paves the way for regulating emissions under the Clean Air Act.

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