Archive for the ‘National Affairs’ Category

Shawcroft Testifies Before Congress

CFB President Don Shawcroft testified before the House Natural Resources Committee today in Washington D.C. During the hearing titled “Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Impacts on Businesses and Families,” Shawcroft told the assembled Representatives that Americans are experiencing sticker shock at the gas pump these days, but high fuel costs are hitting America’s farmers and ranchers especially hard.

“Most Americans are feeling sticker shock caused by high gasoline prices when they fill their automobile’s tank,” Shawcroft said. “But there is no term in the English language to accurately describe what farmers and ranchers feel every time they put diesel in the tanks of their farm equipment.”

Shawcroft cited numerous examples of the economic impact currently experienced by farmers and ranchers. He said the cost just for refueling a typical tractor can be more than $1,000.

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Washington Recap

The U.S. Senate passed a three-week spending measure on Thursday to keep the government running through April 8. This measure contained about $6 billion in cuts to the federal budget.

The House Committee on Agriculture, House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Energy and Commerce Committee all held hearing looking at the impact of EPA regulations and restrictions on energy production.  These hearings brought great scrutiny on EPA.  Since the beginning of the 112th Congress EPA has continually been on the oversight hotseat.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee also held hearings on energy production.  They looked specifically at the impact the recent Deepwater Horizon blowout.  This blowout is being used by the administration to block new drilling permits.

 

Another Short Term Extension for the Federal Government

Ove the past few weeks you have seen information regarding the federal budget, CR’s and what is likely to happen.  With the last CR extension about to run out last Friday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) introduced H.J. Res. 48, a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for an additional three weeks, until April 8.  The current CR expires on Mar. 18.  The bill will be on the House floor this week.

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House Panel Passes Bill Stripping EPA of GHG Authority

The House Energy and Power Subcommittee approved a bill Thursday that would strip EPA of its power to regulate greenhouse gases and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has promised the bill will come before the House floor within weeks.

AFBF supports H.R. 919, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, introduced by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) that would permanently eliminate EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants, refineries, farms and ranches. It also overturns a finding by EPA that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare.

A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that would override EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

House Ag Committee Considering FIFRA Permitting Bill

The House Agriculture Committee passed, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, Wednesday. The bill, introduced by Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), and Joe Baca (D-Calif.), reduces the regulatory burdens imposed by the National Cotton Council v. EPA case.

The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging Congress to pass H.R. 872. The measure would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to clarify that CWA permits are not needed when a pesticide is applied in accordance with the FIFRA-approved label.

In related news, EPA last week requested that the court grant a stay of the deadline for permit coverage until Oct. 31. The current court-ordered deadline is April 9. During the period while the court is considering the extension request, permits for pesticide applications will not be required under the CWA.

AFBF Urges House Members to Co-Sponsor NPDES Permit Bill

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman wrote to members of the House today urging them to support passage of H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, and sign on as co-sponsors.

“In addition to agricultural producers, a significant number of stakeholders will be impacted by a new federal requirement under which the Environmental Protection Agency and delegated states must issue Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general permits for certain pesticide applications,” Stallman told lawmakers in his letter. “This unprecedented action is the result of a 2009 decision of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.”

Stallman called on Congress to take action before the permit requirement becomes final.

“We are concerned that due to unrealistic deadlines for state-delegated implementation and compliance many states will not meet the court ordered deadline of April 9, 2011,” Stallman wrote. “Adding to the uncertainty, EPA has yet to release a final permit. This leaves pesticide users without time to fully understand or come into compliance with the permit and further increases their potential liability.”

House Ag Committee Hearings

Today I received the follow notice for hearing to be held by the House Agriculutre Committee.

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture announced the following committee schedule.

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