News and Commentary
Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Injunction Against EPA Water Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2015 – “Last night Chief Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court of North Dakota issued an order to stop the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule in its tracks. He found strong evidence that the EPA was arbitrary and capricious in its rulemaking. He saw no connection between key provisions of the rule and science that was presented to support it. Based on evidence presented so far, he ordered that the rule be stopped while the litigation continues to a conclusion.
“We applaud the court’s decision. The so-called Clean Water Rule is yet another example of EPA’s reckless and unlawful behavior in the face of science, economics and the law. Whether you’re a farmer, a rancher, a homebuilder or landowner of any stripe, the evidence is clear: This rule simply has to be stopped.
WASHINGTON, D.C., – A series of maps released today by the American Farm Bureau Federation show how the EPA will radically expand its jurisdiction over land use if its controversial Waters of the United States rule takes effect as expected August 28. That expansion comes even as major parts of the rule remain largely incomprehensible to experts and laypeople, alike.
The maps, prepared by Geosyntec Consulting, show the dramatic expansion of EPA’s regulatory reach, stretching across wide swaths of land in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Montana. In Pennsylvania, for example, 99 percent of the state’s total acreage is subject to EPA scrutiny. Landowners have no reliable way to know which of the water and land within that area will be regulated, yet they must still conform their activities to the new law.
WASHINGTON, D.C., – Expanding America’s pipeline infrastructure would relieve the nation’s overburdened freight rail network and improve service for farmers nationwide, according to a new study from the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The booming energy business in the Upper Midwest spiked rail congestion and freight costs for farmers in the region and cut their profits by $570 million during the 2014 harvest. The AFBF study found that the average North Dakota corn farmer may have received $10,000 less than the traditional market rate for the crop. Increasing U.S. pipeline capacity – particularly in the Bakken region – is a prime solution for adding freight system capacity overall and relieving rail congestion, according to AFBF.
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2015 – The American Farm Bureau Federation, Texas Farm Bureau, Matagorda County Farm Bureau, and 11 other agricultural and industry groups today asked a federal court to vacate the controversial new rule redefining the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The complaint, filed in federal district court in Texas, claims the new rule grants EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broad control over land use far beyond what Congress authorized in the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit also claims vagueness and over-breadth of the rule violate the U.S. Constitution. The groups also challenged EPA’s aggressive grassroots advocacy campaign during the comment period, which reflected a closed mind to concerns expressed by farmers and others.
EPA and the Corps first proposed the rule in March 2014, promising clarity and certainty to farmers, ranchers, builders and other affected businesses and landowners. “Instead we have a final rule that exceeds the agencies’ legal authority and fails to provide the clarity that was promised,” AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen said. “AFBF filed this lawsuit to do everything we can to protect the interests of farmers and ranchers, but litigation is not a quick or perfect fix. It is long, cumbersome and expensive, and it leaves farmers and others facing immediate harm and uncertainty under this rule.”
U.S. agriculture took a big step forward this week with the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan passage of Trade Promotion Authority.
The legislation is vital to Idaho agriculture and every other farm state that depends on the ability to export commodities.
“Congress moving this legislation to the President’s desk sends a strong signal to foreign governments that we mean business at the bargaining table and are ready to complete new agreements that will break down trade barriers and open new markets all over the world,” said Idaho Farm Bureau President Frank Priestley.
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). TPA is a legislative procedure, written by Congress, through which Congress defines U.S. negotiating objectives and spells out a detailed oversight and consultation process for trade negotiations. Under TPA, Congress retains the authority to review and decide whether any proposed U.S. trade agreement will be implemented. TPA does not provide new power to the Executive Branch.
WASHINGTON, D.C., – “American farmers and ranchers lead the world in food production thanks to ceaseless hard work and innovation. Expanding access to international markets continues this story of growth and prosperity.
“The House’s bipartisan passage of trade promotion authority legislation today brings us a step closer to completing ambitious trade negotiations around the world. Congressional support is critical to breaking down trade barriers and completing ambitious new trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. TPA streamlines negotiations and strengthens our position at the bargaining table.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 2015 – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s passage of a bill to stop the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule shows Congress is listening, even if the EPA won’t.
The controversial WOTUS rule gives federal agencies new powers to regulate many normal farming, ranching and business activities, making it the largest federal overreach in memory.
The Federal Water Quality Protection Act, S. 1140, would force EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to scrap its own, extreme interpretation of the Clean Water Act and return to the drawing board, this time to craft a new rule that would fall within the parameters of Congress’ intent. The EPA and Army Corps would be required to take into consideration the valid concerns of farmers, ranchers, home builders and others who would be affected by the new rule.
WASHINGTON, D.C., – The American Farm Bureau Federation is now accepting applications for the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. Entrepreneurs will compete for $145,000 in startup funds. Applications must be submitted by June 30.
The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations being cultivated in rural regions of the United States. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses.
Competitors must have an idea for a business that is related to food and agriculture. Businesses related to food and agriculture include farms or ranches, value-added food processing, food hubs, community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), farm-to-table restaurants and farmers’ markets. Businesses indirectly related to food and agriculture include support services such as crop scouting, agritourism, ag advertising agencies and ag technology companies.