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Biden vetoes congressional resolution to overturn WOTUS

Legislative Watch: No clear WOTUS definition; Livestock Regulatory Protection Act; checkoff reform; Death Tax Repeal Act; USDA Food Safety Advisory Committee.

P. Scott Shearer

April 7, 2023

4 Min Read
The regulation would replace the WOTUS rule issued in August 2015 by the Obama administration’s U.S. Environmental Protecti
National Pork Board

President Biden yesterday vetoed the congressional joint resolution to overturn the administration’s Waters of the United States rule.

In his veto to message to the House of Representatives, Biden said, "The resolution would leave Americans without a clear definition of "Waters of the United States." The increased uncertainty caused by H.J. Res. 27 would threaten economic growth, including for agriculture, local economies and downstream communities. Farmers would be left wondering whether artificially irrigated areas remain excluded or not. Construction crews would be left wondering whether their waterfilled gravel pits remain excluded or not. The resolution would also negatively affect tens of millions of United States households that depend on healthy wetlands and streams."

Neither the House nor Senate votes on the joint resolution were close to the necessary two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.

Legislation would prevent regulation of livestock emission
Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Krysten Sinema (I-AZ) have introduced the "Livestock Regulatory Protection Act" which would prevent the EPA from issuing livestock emissions permits.  

The bill would amend the Clean Air Act to prevent EPA from issuing permits for carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, water vapor or methane emissions from biological processes associated with livestock production.  

Thune said, "Livestock producers are constantly working to improve efficiency and reduce emissions from their operations. They should not be subject to onerous regulations and costly permit fees for their animals' emissions, which could ultimately lead to higher food costs for consumers. I'm proud to lead this legislation that would provide producers long-term certainty on this issue."

Groups support checkoff reform
Over 130 agricultural and food organizations are calling on Congress to approve checkoff reform legislation that would tighten the rules governing checkoff programs.

The organizations in a letter to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees said, "Several of these programs and associated boards have well-documented histories of waste, conflicts of interest, misuse of funding, anti-competitive behavior and other related issues. For these reasons, farms and ranchers across the country have grown disillusioned with the effectiveness of many of these checkoff programs as they operate today."

The group supports the "Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act" which would prohibit checkoff programs from contracting with organizations that lobby on agricultural policy; establish uniform standards for checkoff programs that prohibit anti-competitive activity; require the publication of checkoff program budgets; etc.

Those supporting the legislation include the Environmental Working Group, Farm Aid, Food & Water Watch, National Farmers Union, R-CALF USA and Union of Concerned Scientists.

Senate bill would end the death tax
Senator John Thune (R-SD) and 40 Republican Senators have introduced the "Death Tax Repeal Act" which would permanently repeal the federal estate tax.  

Thune said, "Family-owned farms and ranches often bear the brunt of this tax, which makes it difficult and costly to pass these businesses down to future generations."

The bill is supported by over 250 organizations including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, American Soybean Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Cotton Council, National Federation of Independent Business and National Grange.

USDA announces Food Safety Advisory Committee
USDA announced the appointment of 20 members to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection.  

The newly appointed NACMPI members to serve a two-year term are

  • Mary Anne Amalaradjou – University of Connecticut, Tolland, Connecticut

  • Sharon Birkett – OSI Group, LLC, Bolingbrook, Illinois

  • Dianna Viola Bourassa – Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

  • Byron D. Chaves – University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Vanessa Coffman – Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness, Chicago, Illinois

  • James Richard Dillon – State of Texas, Austin, Texas

  • Scott Lee Filbrandt – Bob's Processing Inc., South Haven, Michigan

  • James Harbey Hollis – South Carolina Meat-Poultry Inspection Department, Columbus, South Carolina

  • James Kincheloe – Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, D.C.

  • Paul Steven Kuber – Washington State University, Spokane, Washington

  • Anastacia Marie Larkin – Cougle Commission Company, Schererville, Indiana

  • Ali Mohseni-Motlagh – American Foods Group LLC, Newton Square, Pennsylvania

  • Patrick Robinette – Micro Summit Processors, Pinetops, North Carolina

  • James Rogers – Food Safety Research and Testing, Consumer Reports, Bowie, Maryland

  • Desiree Claire Ann Wineland – American Butchers LLC / Beyond the Butchers, Cambridge, Nebraska

The returning NACMPI members are

  • William Battle – Magnolia Processing Inc. DBA Pride of The Pond, Tunica, Mississippi

  • Casey Lynn Gallimore – North American Meat Institute, Shawnee, Kansas

  • Joseph Harris – Southwest Meat Association; Franklin, Texas

  • Teresa Schwartz – Retired Law Professor, Washington, D.C.

  • Byron Williams – Mississippi State University, Brandon, Mississippi

NAMPI provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on food safety concerns and inspection program activities, including food safety policies that will contribute to USDA's regulatory policy development.  

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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