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.
Lucas to Jackson: Clarify Record on So-Called Regulatory 'Myths'
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – Frank D. Lucas, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, sent a letter today to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting a response to a list of questions from a bipartisan group of lawmakers that was submitted to her agency nearly six months ago. Administrator Jackson testified before the Committee on March 10, 2011 at a hearing on EPA regulations. Following the hearing, members of the Agriculture Committee submitted questions for the record to clarify EPA's proposed actions and to gather more information about potential impacts on agriculture.
The EPA currently has more than 300 regulations under consideration, which could affect issues ranging from farm dust to federal jurisdiction over small streams and ponds. The American Council for Capital Formation estimates that by 2014, EPA regulations will cost Americans anywhere from $47 billion to $141 billion, and eliminate between 476 thousand and 1.4 million jobs.
The lack of transparency and uncertainty surrounding potential EPA regulations is also damaging to economic growth, as businesses are hesitant to make job-creating investments without knowing the regulatory environment in which they will be operating.
A copy of the letter can found here. The text is below.
September 8, 2011
Honorable Lisa P. Jackson
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20581
Dear Ms. Jackson:
Regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can have far-reaching consequences for businesses across the country. For that reason, your agency’s regulatory agenda has been a frequent topic of interest at hearings held by the House Committee on Agriculture.
At multiple hearings, farmers, ranchers, and rural Americans have voiced their apprehensions about EPA. Our constituents are concerned that regulations under consideration on a variety of issues ranging from dust to gypsum will be costly, difficult to implement, and unworkable for farmers and ranchers.
On a recent trip to Illinois, President Obama called these concerns “unfounded.” In testimony at our March 10, 2011 hearing on EPA regulations and agriculture, you mentioned “myths” about EPA’s intentions and said that mischaracterizations of your agency’s actions prevent “real dialogue to address our greatest problems.”
I agree that uncertainty surrounding potential regulations is harmful. When businesses are hesitant to make job-creating investments, it is not only farmers and ranchers that suffer, but entire communities. With unemployment stagnant around nine percent, we simply cannot afford to perpetuate uncertainty for our businesses.
For that reason, after your testimony before our Committee, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent you a list of questions for the record to clarify your agency’s intentions and the potential effects EPA actions will have on agriculture. We sent these questions nearly six months ago, and have yet to receive a response.
Our Committee is not raising idle concerns; we are seeking forthright answers that will help farmers and ranchers make important business decisions.
By clarifying your agency’s intent through these questions, you can help dispel any mischaracterizations of regulations which are currently under consideration by your agency and give American businesses the regulatory certainty they need to invest in our economy.
I look forward to seeing your responses soon so that we can help our farmers, ranchers, and businesses move forward with confidence.
Frank D. Lucas