U.S. potato growers are largely family farmers with operations that span generations. Growers are stewards of the land and contribute to the protection and management of the nation’s environment. NPC encourages public and private partnerships that support sound stewardship of public and private working lands and associated waters that will maintain the health and productivity of those resources.
Waters of the United States
On January 18, 2023, the Environmental Protection Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published the Administration’s long-expected WOTUS rule, which reverts back to the Obama Administration’s era of federal jurisdiction to regulate navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, including wetlands, ephemeral streams and ditches.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) led 152 House members in introducing a joint resolution of disapproval to block this new WOTUS rule. An identical measure was also introduced in the Senate by 49 Senators, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
Congress should affirm this joint resolution of disapproval of the WOTUS rule due to its unnecessarily broad and negative impact on farmers and the entire agriculture industry.
Endangered Species Act Reform
The negative impact that environmental activist lawsuits and adverse regulatory decisions have generated under ESA are substantial and constraining reasonable activities by the agriculture industry in managing its natural resources. Productive agricultural land is being taken out of production and access to essential water resources is being reduced or eliminated. The results are generational competitive losses and negative economic impacts.
In order to correct this broken system, a two-pronged effort is necessary that will involve:
- Regulatory reform primarily within “the Services” (National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service);
- Legislative reforms undertaken by Congress to restore reasonable economic considerations in the regulatory process.
Congress should enact necessary reforms and press the Services to reform processes to minimize these unnecessary economic impacts.
SEC Climate Disclosure Rule
In 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose their climate impacts and also those of their entire supply chain. Due to the expansive way in which the proposed rule is written, it would mandate that nearly all U.S. farms, regardless of size, to report greenhouse gas emissions at great cost and potential liability.
In the 118th Congress, Rep. Lucas (R-OK) and Sen. Boozman (R-AR) introduced the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act, H.R. 1018 and S. 391. The legislation was written narrowly to address the concerns of farmers and ranchers that do business with public companies.
Science-Based Decision Making in the Regulation of Pesticides
Thoroughly reviewed and well-regulated pesticides are essential to maintaining a competitive agriculture industry and keeping pace with pests and diseases that are constantly evolving and causing damage to valuable crops.
Unfortunately, activists have pressured House and Senate members to reject science-based decisions on pesticide registration. Most recently in early February 2023, Sen. Booker (D-NJ) introduced the SB269, the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), which would revoke registrations of EPA-approved pesticides and herbicides, including organophosphate insecticides, neonicotinoid insecticides, and paraquat herbicide. This effort follows legislation in the previous Congress by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) that sought to avoid the science-based EPA regulatory process mandated by Congress under the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act and simply revoke pesticide registrations based upon public pressure.
These unwise departures from a transparent science-based process should be rejected by the House and Senate.