The National Cattlemen's Beef Association welcomes you to "Beltway Beef." Initiated in 1898, NCBA is the oldest and largest national marketing organization and trade association dedicated solely to U.S. cattlemen and women. With offices in Washington, D.C., and Denver, NCBA is a producer driven organization representing the largest segment of the nation's food and fiber industry. "Beltway Beef" was created to serve as a sounding board for the U.S. beef industry. Decisions are made in Washington, D.C., directly impacting the cattle business. Our goal is to get the word out and we need your help. We encourage you to comment on the postings, ask questions and share with your friends. Posts on "Beltway Beef" are produced by NCBA staff and invited guests. Feel free to contact the bloggers at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Kent Bacus, NCBA Associate Director of Legislative Affairs, discusses transportation reauthorization. - See more at: http://www.beefusa.org/audionews.aspx?NewsID=5083#sthash.uuKMBV8o.dpuf
Dustin Van Liew, PLC Executive Director, talks about President Obama’s recent monument designations under the Antiquities Act, and the impact they will have on the future of public grazing on over 1 million acres of federal land.
Dustin Van Liew, Executive Director of PLC and NCBA Federal Lands, talks about the BLM’s sage grouse management plans and the NCBA/PLC WOTUS litigation.
The House Interior appropriations bill passed through committee on June 16, 30 to 21. The Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association strongly support the bill, which allocates how federal dollars are spent for the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies during fiscal year 2016. The bill included language that would help provide relief from the regulatory burdens that continue to hamper the productivity and profitability of farmers and ranchers across the country.
From language that blocks the listing of the Sage Grouse, to requiring alternative allotments where ranchers are impacted by drought or wildfire without the need to complete extensive environmental analyses and many others, Dustin Van Liew, PLC and NCBA federal lands executive director, said the provisions are important to keeping livestock producers in business.
This bill would maintain the current grazing fee, fund the range budgets at the same levels as fiscal year 2015 and prohibit funding for the creation of de facto wilderness areas under Secretarial Order 3310. These are all critical in maintaining the viability of federal lands grazing and multiple use. The bill also continues to block listing of the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act through September 30, 2016 and defunds the implementation of the EPA's waters of the United States final rule.
The committee took a positive step, in line with last year's bill, by including a provision to withhold funding to any rule that would require mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems. The committee additionally continued to include language preventing EPA from requiring Clean Air Act permits from livestock operations based on greenhouse gas emissions.
The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up their companion legislation today by a vote of 16 to 14, but the full text has not yet been released. PLC and NCBA encourage the full Congress to take up these bills without delay.
Agency's Flawed Rule Stems from a Flawed Process
“Nothing left unregulated” is the apparent motto of the Environmental Protection Agency. Today, the Agency finalized its “Waters of the United States” proposed rule, which unilaterally strips private property rights and adds hundreds of thousands of stream miles and acres of land to federal jurisdiction.
Under the guise of clarifying the Clean Water Act, the EPA and the Army Corps added ambiguous language to the law that leaves regulation up to the subjectivity of individual regulators across the country. By law, the EPA must read and consider all comments submitted on the proposed rule, but only six months after receiving over one million public comments on the proposal, EPA has finalized the rule. Philip Ellis, National Cattlemen's Beef Association president, said this is a clear indication there is no intention of considering the concerns of those most impacted by the rule.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, however, that a flawed rule would come from a flawed process. Not only did the EPA write the proposal expanding the reach of the Clean Water Act without input from agriculture, the Agency implemented their own grassroots lobbying campaign to drown out the concerns of private property owners. The tax-payer funded campaign was promoted through social media channels and called for people to share EPA’s oversimplified and misleading talking points.
“The former Obama campaign officials that received political appointments at EPA are apparently putting their activist knowledge base to use,” said Ellis. “Soliciting endorsements and support is a far cry from simply educating the public, as EPA officials claim.”
The Agency even went a step further during a press conference when Administrator McCarthy called the concerns of cattlemen “ludicrous”. This doesn’t sound like an Agency interested in rural America at all. It’s an Agency with an agenda.
In fact, the EPA used maps of waters and wetlands throughout the country that detailed the extent of their proposal, but it wasn’t until the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology was doing research in preparation for a hearing that the maps were discovered. The taxpayer funded maps, presumably kept hidden for years, painted an “astonishing picture” of what EPA intended to regulate, as Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) explained.
“The EPA has been spending taxpayer dollars employing a grassroots lobbying campaign, hiding information, dismissing concerns from stakeholders, and holding closed-door meetings with environmental activists,” said Brenda Richards, Idaho rancher and Public Lands Council president. “There is no question that this rule will infringe on private property rights and usurp state authority over land and water use. Ambiguous language included will only serve to further jam courtrooms across the country with jurisdictional challenges.”
While NCBA and PLC are reviewing the details of the final rule, the entire process has been flawed and must be set aside; the final rule poses an unnecessary threat to private property owners and cattle producers across the country. The only fix is to start over with all stakeholders’ input and direction from Congress.