Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
The Ag Minute: EPA Must Recognize Farmers' Contribution to Preserving & Protecting the Chesapeake Bay
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, discusses the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed regulations for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. He highlights how these regulations extend beyond EPA's authority and fail to account for the efforts farmers have made to preserve and protect the Bay. Rep. Thompson is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry and will hold a hearing tomorrow to review the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), agricultural conservation practices, and their implications on national watersheds.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"An issue many people in rural communities of the Mid-Atlantic region are concerned about is the proposed federal regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
"Despite the successful efforts at the state and local level to improve runoff and water quality, the EPA is seeking to impose unreasonable mandates on the amount of nutrients that can enter the Chesapeake Bay. This action places unprecedented regulatory burdens on our communities and removes authority from states to implement their own strategies for Chesapeake Bay cleanup.
"EPA and USDA performed models to determine the load estimates for the Bay. These two analyses have concerned many - including me – because they produced strikingly different results. How can we properly diagnose and solve this problem, when we can’t even agree and quantify its causes?
"That’s why this week the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry will hold a hearing to examine these regulations and their impact on the Bay.
"The 2008 Farm Bill provided assistance for producers for their voluntary efforts to improve management practices and water quality.
"The EPA is clearly reaching beyond its authority under current law and failing to comprehend the economic impact of these regulations at the local level. We can restore the Chesapeake Bay while also maintaining the economic livelihood of these communities. Our efforts in the House Agriculture Committee will seek to find solutions that achieve both."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each week from the House Agriculture Committee.