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Court halts WOTUS rule enforcement

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today ordered the EPA to stop enforcement nationwide of the Waters of the United States rule. In doing so, the Cincinnati-based court recognized that this rule has serious flaws and cannot go forward until the courts have had an opportunity to understand its effect on farmers, ranchers and landowners of all kinds, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said in a statement.

“The judges expressed deep concerns over the basic legality of this rule. We’re not in the least surprised: This is the worst EPA order we have seen since the agency was established more than 40 years ago. The court clearly understood our arguments,” Stallman said.

Poll Shows Broad Support for Endangered Species Act Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C.,  – Most Americans think the Endangered Species Act is outdated and needs to be revised, a survey by Morning Consult shows. The poll conducted in early August adds impetus to congressional efforts to overhaul the increasingly outdated 1970s-era statute.

The survey shows:

·       63 percent of Americans support modernizing the ESA;

·       62 of Americans believe the act should help with species recovery, as opposed to merely cataloguing changes in their populations;

·       69 percent of Americans want the federal government to offer resources to third parties to help species recovery; and

·       49 percent of Americans believe that state or local authorities, rather than the federal government, lead in recovery of endangered and threatened species. Only 31 percent of Americans favor the federal government taking the lead.

Local efforts save sage grouse from ESA listing

AFBF - Due to the success of state and local conservation efforts, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced today its decision not to list the greater sage grouse as an endangered species. The American Farm Bureau is a strong supporter of meaningful recovery efforts and counts today’s decision as a testament to the great strides states and landowners can make when they work cooperatively to develop effective wildlife management plans.

“Conservation plans developed at the state and local levels provide the greatest opportunity for species success, and we believe today’s decision endorses that approach,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Farmers and ranchers last year called on the federal government to allow time for these plans to work, and now we’re seeing positive results and real success with the birds’ populations across the Western states. State, local and industry partners have accomplished in just a few years a level of success largely unseen through 42 years of federal Endangered Species Act implementation.”

'All About Beef' App Features Two New Games

WASHINGTON, D.C., - The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture released a new educational app, "All About Beef," funded in part by the Beef Checkoff.

App versions of "The Steaks are High " and "Grocery Grab" are STEM-based games funded by the Beef Checkoff Program and geared toward students in grades 3-5. In addition to teaching nutrition and environmental facts, the apps also feature kid-friendly beef recipes.

The My American Farm games, including "The Steaks are High" and "Grocery Grab" are available on the iTunes store for iPhone and iPad, at Google Play for Android devices, on Amazon for the Kindle Fire and on www.MyAmericanFarm.org.

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.

Farm Bureau: Maps Show Massive Increase in EPA Authority, Regulatory Uncertainty for Everyone Else

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.

New Pipeline Infrastructure Key to Unloading Freight Rail Backlog, Helping America’s Farmers

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.

American Farm Bureau, Agriculture and Industry Groups Ask Court to Ditch EPA’s Unlawful Water Rule

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.”

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