National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice-President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall issued the following statement regarding the passage of three amendments to H.R. 1, legislation to fund the federal government through the end of this fiscal year, that if passed by the Senate will block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) funding to regulate dust and implement its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rule for the Chesapeake Bay and its nutrient criteria rule for Florida.

“I hope the activists turned government officials at the Environmental Protection Agency were listening to the very clear signal sent by the U.S. House of Representatives that enough is enough. Our elected leaders are growing weary of defending this agency that appears to be determined to put farmers and ranchers out of business. Burdensome, job stifling regulations are never a good thing. But when you have a struggling economy on the verge of a rebound, government over-reach is definitely not a way to stimulate job growth and economic recovery.

“On behalf of U.S. cattlemen and women, I commend Representatives Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) for leading the charge against over-regulation and in support of economic growth in rural America and throughout the country.

“As a cattle rancher, Rep. Noem understands that dust is a part of farming and ranching. It seems like a no-brainer, but apparently EPA officials haven’t stepped off the city sidewalks lately. We are thankful Rep. Noem’s commonsense and knowledge of the agricultural industry prevailed in the House over attempts to regulate family farmers and ranchers out of business.

Tough assignment

“Regulating dust on a farm or ranch is like regulating flour in a bakery. Quite simply, it is ridiculous. Almost every farm and ranch in the country would be found non-compliant for going about their everyday activities ranging from driving a truck on a gravel road or moving cattle from one lot to the next. We all need to stop and question EPA’s motives since it is well known that scientific studies have never shown, whatsoever, that agricultural dust at ambient levels causes health concerns.

 “Representatives Goodlatte and Rooney, both from states where agriculture is extremely important, understand the need for peer reviewed science before you impose regulations that would cause for sale signs to become a frequent occurrence on farms and ranchers across the country. Rep. Goodlatte’s amendment to stop funding for EPA to implement its TMDL rule for the Chesapeake Bay, which is based on flawed scientific assumptions, could also prevent the model from becoming a template for other watersheds.

“EPA’s data was even proven inaccurate by another agency in the same administration. One would think that contradiction would encourage EPA to take another look.

“Rep. Rooney’s amendment would protect cattle producers in Florida from EPA’s extremely detrimental, scientifically indefensible nutrient criteria rule. Both of these rules, if implemented, will cost cattle producers millions of dollars in compliance costs, financially devastate state economies and erase thousands of jobs.

 “We hope these amendments don’t stop with the U.S. House of Representatives. We urge the Senate to follow suit if they plan to stop government over-reach and job stifling regulations.”