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Hastings Leads Effort to Protect Western Farmers and Foresters from Job-Costing Regulations


WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2011 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) is leading a bipartisan, multi-state effort to protect farmers and foresters in Washington state and across the country whose livelihoods are threatened by new burdensome federal regulations.

Hastings, along with 17 Members of Congress, sent a letter to Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley asking her to halt implementation of regulations that could end the use of vital crop and tree protection products on more than 60 percent of land in Washington state alone. The lawmakers also asked for better coordination of federal and state agencies’ efforts to incorporate the best available scientific data when making regulatory decisions.

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

“These regulations will cost jobs, adversely impact trade of our agricultural commodities, and impose a significant blow to our already struggling economy,” said Hastings. “The Administration must go back to the drawing board and review regulations that were based on questionable science and written with little input from those most affected.”

The letter was signed by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Greg Walden (R-OR), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Wally Herger (R-CA), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Paul Broun (R-GA), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Michael Simpson (R-ID), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Last year, Hastings and several House colleagues also raised concerns with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the lack of public input and integration of state and federal agriculture scientific data into federal biological opinions affecting a host of agricultural and forest activities. Click to view the May 17, 2010 letter and the July 22, 2010 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Background:

In 2002, a U.S. District court judge ruled that the EPA had not adequately consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the potential impact of certain pesticides on Endangered Species Act-listed salmon. The court ordered NMFS to issue a series of biological opinions to assess impacts and issue regulations to enforce their recommendations.

The first biological opinion was released in 2008 on three products without allowing any opportunity for public comment. A number of agencies and entities including EPA and the Departments of Agriculture for the states of Washington, Oregon and California raised concerns about the scientific modeling and data assumptions used in the opinion, which mandated 1,000-foot buffer zones from waterways. NMFS has since released two additional biological opinions addressing several more crop protection products that utilize the same scientific modeling and were drafted through the same closed process. The agency is scheduled to release three more biological opinions on herbicides and fungicides in April 2011.

The House Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Contact: Jill Strait or Spencer Pederson 202-226-9019

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