Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota issued the following statements after the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, by a large, bipartisan vote of 36-10.
The Ag Minute: Forestry Industry At Risk of New Regulatory Burden From EPA
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, discusses a recent court decision that could give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) another tool for regulating timber businesses across rural America. Rep. Thompson highlights the need to prevent the timber industry from bearing an unnecessary new regulatory burden that could result from this court decision. This is a sentiment that was expressed in a recent letter that a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Thompson, sent to the EPA Administrator.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"A new development with a court case in California has caught my attention because of its potentially negative impact on American foresters.
"The court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate logging sites as a 'point source' when it comes to storm-water management.
"Currently, logging sites are considered a 'nonpoint source' and are regulated by the states. This means each state is able to determine the best management practices for their needs.
"If EPA starts regulating logging sites as a point source, anyone who attempts to cut timber will be required to get a permit from EPA. This would impose an unnecessary new regulatory burden on small businesses in the forestry industry.
"I recently joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking her to support current timber harvesting practices across America.
"During a time of economic hardship, Congress must be doing everything possible to reduce unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens on Americans, not asking them to do more.
"It is our hope that Administrator Jackson will recognize the importance of timber harvesting to rural America and our public lands; and agree that states know how best to ensure that logging is done in an environmentally sound manner."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.