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News Briefs: OFBF responds to Dispatch | U.S. EPA & water issues | E15 approval
OFBF responds to ‘Dispatch’ series
In a letter to the editor of The Columbus Dispatch, OFBF Executive Vice President Jack Fisher took issue with the newspaper’s series Fouled by Farms for its sensationalistic headlines such as “Drowning in Manure” and “Toxic Soup.”Fisher said while the challenges associated with nutrients and crop protectants were exhaustively detailed, missing was an equally comprehensive examination of the positive aspects of these vital tools.
“While the series’ depth was impressive, its breadth was lacking. Such a detailed focus on the link between farming and pollution left readers with an incomplete understanding of an important public policy issue,” Fisher wrote. Fisher detailed accomplishments of farmers as well as the regulation in place to protect the environment.
“(Farmers) welcome the public’s attention to their profession, and don’t fear close examination of the complexities of feeding the world. They only ask that when farming is under the microscope, the big picture be brought into focus as well,” he said.
Legislation would give U.S. EPA more authority over water issues
Farmers and ranchers would face burdensome federal regulatory control if provisions of a restrictive Senate water bill make it through the “lame duck” session of Congress, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
AFBF and a coalition of other groups are vowing to oppose any effort to attach the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816) to any bill that might be addressed during the lame duck session.
“While carrying a title that suggests it is limited in scope, provisions of this bill would have drastic negative impacts on agriculture,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The bill makes sweeping changes to the Clean Water Act and sets adverse water policy precedents that would impact watersheds throughout the nation.”
According to Stallman, the bill strips state and local governments within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed of their authority under the Clean Water Act and grants it instead to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“By granting EPA the authority to issue what are called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) without allowing states the opportunity to address water issues, this bill would give EPA greater control over land-use decisions that should be made at the local level,” Stallman said.
E15 approved for newer vehicles
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved E15, gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol, for model year 2007 and newer cars and light-duty trucks.
A second decision by EPA on the use of E15 (for model year 2001 to 2006 cars and light-duty trucks) will be made after additional Department of Energy testing is completed.
Farm Bureau and a diverse coalition of renewable energy supporters worked to press government officials to do everything in their power to expedite the approval process for E15.
Video outlines farm bill debate
The AFBF Public Relations Department has produced a 21-minute video highlighting the major issues involved in the next farm bill debate.
The video features AFBF President Bob Stallman, AFBF Executive Director of Public Policy Mark Maslyn and AFBF Chief Economist Bob Young. Watch it at the link above.
OFBF is engaging with Midwestern state Farm Bureaus, university specialists and AFBF in an effort to develop a regionally supported set of farm policy recommendations. The organization will be working to get input from members on farm support programs, dairy policy and conservation.