Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement regarding legislation introduced by Senator Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) that ties repeal of country of origin labeling (COOL) to both the elimination of existing market driven programs and the establishment of a so-called voluntary country of origin (COOL) labeling program for beef, pork, and chicken. This new voluntary program would operate under similar rules as the program found to violate U.S. international trade rules.
The Ag Minute: EPA's Sue & Settle Strategy Makes for Bad Agriculture Policy
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Tom Rooney discusses the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) growing trend of developing public policy as the result of lawsuit settlements. This defective method of putting in place regulations that circumvent the public rulemaking process can negatively impact the agriculture community. Rep. Rooney highlights one such example with the proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) Reporting Rule.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"It seems agriculture can’t catch a break from the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach.
"The latest example has the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considering a new mandate that could compromise the safety and security of America’s livestock operations.
"The proposed mandate would require all Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), to submit to the EPA a long list of proprietary information regardless of whether or not they discharge manure. This information would be made public. If you don’t comply you would face fines up to $37,500 per day.
"The problem with this proposed mandate is two-fold:
"First, livestock producers are concerned the new regulation not only violates their privacy, but also poses significant security risks. Making extensive information public could put their families and operations in peril.
"Second, this mandate is part of an ongoing and alarming trend within the EPA where policy is increasingly being developed as the result of lawsuit settlements and not the rule of law.
"This particular proposed regulation was the result of a settlement with environmental groups, so the farmers and the ranchers that will be affected by this mandate had no say in this development.
"Using lawsuit settlements to create policy is an underhanded way of changing the rules on our farmers and ranchers without their voice and consideration."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.