Sunrise June 22: GOP senators call for justification for WOTUS action
Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are asking the Biden administration to provide analysis and other documents to support the recent move to replace the Trump-era rule that restricted the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
Senators demand – among other things – that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers define “significant environmental damage” and “continuing environmental damage” that the agencies say results from the Navigable Waters Protection Rule from Trump.
In In a letter to the agencies, the senators seek details of the “implementation challenges” that EPA staff members say the NWPR is creating. Senators say a lack of detail on the administration’s decision “only contributed to greater uncertainty for Congress, states and regulated entities.”
NWPR Replaces Obama Administration’s “United States Waters” Rule which has increased the number of wetlands and other areas of federal jurisdiction.
US joins global school nutrition effort
The Biden administration joins a global effort to make school meals accessible to all children on the planet by 2030. The coalition – led by Iceland, Finland and France with support from the World Food Program United Nations – will be launched at the United Nations Food System Summit in September.
The Food Systems Summit is an effort to develop recommendations for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals over the next decade.
Colorado Supreme Court blocks cattle voting initiative
Colorado breeding groups are celebrating a state Supreme Court ruling to dismiss a ballot initiative that had the potential to radically change acceptable practices in the state’s breeding industry.
On Monday, the Colorado High Court ruled that the initiative violated the “one subject” rule in the state’s constitution. The initiative contained a number of adjustments to incorporate livestock into existing cruelty to animals law, including expanding the definition of âsex with an animalâ. The court said the redefinition added another topic to the poll’s initiative.
âBecause these topics are not necessarily and correctly connected, there is a potential for the very kind of voter surprise that the requirement of a single topic seeks to guard against – here voters might not understand that this which is nominally a breeding initiative also affects the care of all animals, or vice versa, âthe decision noted.
Supporters of the ranching industry feared the initiative would end practices such as artificial insemination and cattle slaughter in the state. The Colorado Livestock Association called it “an unprecedented step that will criminalize historic farming and ranching practices throughout Colorado.”
CER: Remember us when drafting the energy policy
Rural power cooperatives across the country are calling on lawmakers to consider the needs of power cooperatives when developing clean energy incentives. Bill Cherrier, executive vice president and CEO of Central Iowa Power Cooperative, will tell a Senate agriculture subcommittee today that stable baseload generation is still needed to support wind and other sources of energy. ‘renewable energy.
Cherrier will also advocate to allow cooperatives to directly benefit from renewable energy incentives. As non-profit organizations, co-ops cannot use existing tax credits, so they have to go through third-party companies that can.
“This unenforceable incentive structure hampers the ability of co-ops to adopt new technologies profitably. Congress should recognize this and make existing direct-payment tax credits eligible for electric co-ops,” Cherrier said in his testimony. prepare.
Agricultural bank loans hold up
Agricultural bank loans remained strong at $ 98.6 billion in 2020, a decline of just 1.8% from 2019, according to the American Bankers Association Annual Report.
The report notes that rising costs, supply chain bottlenecks, price volatility and the significant increase in federal cash payments caused demand for farm production loans to plummet last year. . Government payments also helped producers repay loan balances.
ABA Chief Economist Sayee Srinivasan says the agriculture sector is expected to continue to face challenges as the economy reopens and recovers from the pandemic, but “the strong asset quality and capital levels of U.S. agricultural banks will help ensure they continue to provide support to rural communities “.
According to ABA, the banking sector provides about half of all agricultural loans in the United States – $ 174 billion as of December 2020.
Smithfield faces trial alleging false COVID safety claims and meat supply
Meat trade groups push back legal action claiming that Smithfield Foods has misled customers about the state of the national meat supply chain and the company’s workplace safety practices.
During the pandemic, Smithfield “mounted an aggressive public relations campaign” based on two false claims, Food & Water Watch and Public Justice, which represents her, said in a press release.: “That the company was protecting workers at its facilities from COVID-19 and that meat shortages would occur if processing plants were forced to close.” ”
FWW is seeking a statement that Smithfield has misled and deceived consumers, and an order requiring Smithfield to correct its advertising.
NAMI, NPPC respond: North American Meat Institute spokeswoman Sarah Little said that by mid-April 2020, “pork and beef slaughter had declined by about 50%,” but the Centers for Disease Control did had yet to issue specific guidelines for the meat and poultry industry, and President Donald Trump had yet to sign his executive order to allow meat production to continue.
National Pork Producers Council spokesperson Jim Monroe said “Without a doubt, US pork production was in crisis last year,” with more than 40% of the capacity of US pork harvesting facilities unavailable in the United States. stronger from the pandemic. Many pig farmers “were forced to euthanize pigs to avoid suffering from overcrowding on farms [and] the risk of a pork shortage was very real due to facility closures or slowdowns. “
And Smithfield says: Administrative director Keira Lombardo said the company was unable to provide a substantive response as it had yet to see the complaint, but added that “our health and safety measures, guided by medical expertise and occupational safety, have been comprehensive as our teams have worked from coast to coast to protect the food supply during the pandemic. â
He said it : âWe look forward to being part of a coalition that has the potential to strengthen global food security, build resilience to future shocks, and foster multilateral collaboration to support the nutritional, health and educational needs of children and adolescents in the world. whole world. – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, commenting on a global effort to make school meals accessible to all children on the planet by 2030.
Questions? Advice? Contact Philip Brasher at [email protected]