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Deal emerges on Highway Transportation Bill

June 29, 2012 --

Tentative Deal Reached on Highway Transportation Bill
by National Association of Wheat Growers

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have reached a tentative agreement on a two year deal to finance the nation’s highways. The $8.4 billion dollar bill comes just days before the previous Transportation Bill expires on Saturday June 30, 2012. The legislation will reportedly help to create around 3 million jobs.

In the agreement Wednesday, Republicans from the House gave up several key points including a provision that aimed to speed up authorization on the Keystone Pipeline. Democrats, meanwhile, agreed to ease certain environmental rules, including shrinking the time frame regulators have to survey project sites.

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Stop ranches from being treated as toxic waste dumps

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By National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee hosted a hearing today, June 27, 2012, to deliberate on the “Superfund Common-Sense Act” introduced by Congressman Billy Long (R-Mo.) According to National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President J.D. Alexander, the legislation (H.R. 2997) would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the courts from imposing what Alexander called expensive liability and needless regulation on U.S. agriculture.

NCBA Deputy Environmental Counsel Ashley McDonald said the legislation would restore the original intent of Congress under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), more commonly called the Superfund Law, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

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Farm Bureau troubled over ObamaCare ruling

June 28, 2012 --

Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Supreme Court Decision on Health Care:
By American Farm Bureau Federation

“Farmers, ranchers and rural residents need affordable and accessible health care. We remain concerned that mandating individuals and businesses to buy insurance will impose an expense that creates economic hardship, particularly for self-employed individuals and small businesses.

“We believe one of the primary goals of health care reform should be to reduce costs for participants. The plan reviewed by the Supreme Court would impose a new financial burden on our members. As the legal and political interpretation of this ruling is further analyzed and debated in the weeks and months ahead, it is important to remember that access to affordable health care eludes many American families across the country.

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How to handle Tsunami debris & invasive species reaching our coast

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By Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife,

Debris from the March 2011 tsunami that struck Japan is starting to reach Oregon’s coast. Some of it may carry invasive species that could pose a serious threat to Oregon’s marine environment and native species. There are a number of things that Oregonians can do to help.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department responds to debris on beaches, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife leads the response to invasive species in coordination with the Oregon Invasive Species Council, Oregon State University and other partners. We recommend the following best practices to anyone who discovers marine debris – especially debris that has living organisms on it.

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Timber groups applaud Supreme Court ruling

June 27, 2012 --

American Forest Research Council,

The timber industry is pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court  announced it will review a 2010 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision requiring National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for forest roads.

“We are happy the Supreme Court recognizes the importance of this issue. EPA’s nonpoint pollution control rule that has applied to forest roads for nearly 40 years should be reinstated,” said Tom Partin, President of the American Forest Resource Council. “The Ninth Circuit just did not recognize that Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been very effective in controlling runoff from our forest roads. Over the years, we have been able to continually improve our practices as we have learned more about the environment. Water flowing from our forests is high quality. Permits that require a lot of paperwork, create further opportunities for litigation and don’t improve water quality. Best Management Practices do.”

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Forest issue pits labor unions vs. environmentalists

June 26, 2012 --

Andrew Langer
President of the Institute for Liberty
(Excerpt)

In announcing his re-election, the president has repeatedly stressed the importance of green jobs and exhaustive environmental regulations, measures taken over Obama’s term in office to appease one of his key constituencies. The pandering quickly paid off last month as Obama racked up the endorsement of green crusaders Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Environment America. The same is true of labor unions. Despite his best efforts to get card check legislation passed in Congress, labor unions are still backing their guy. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka reportedly has “unfettered access” to the president, visiting the White House some 71 times since the president was sworn in over three years ago. But not everything is well in the once blissful Obama coalition, with green groups and labor unions on opposite ends in a number of key debates.

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House passes grazing permit bill

June 25, 2012 --

Greg Walden helps pass bill boosting grazing permit certainty for Oregon ranchers
–House gives approval to bipartisan legislation streamlining process for renewing livestock grazing permits
Congressman Greg Walden

The House today approved commonsense legislation that would boost certainty for ranchers dealing with grazing permits on federal land.  The Grazing Improvement Act (H.R. 4234) would not only streamline the process for renewing permits, but also double their duration. Rep. Greg Walden is a cosponsor of the legislation, and helped lead a bipartisan majority to pass the language today.

“As a small business owner since 1986, I know that uncertainty stifles innovation and investment. After years of facing bureaucratic delays and uncertainty, this bill would allow Oregon ranchers to focus on investing in their businesses, creating jobs, and responsibly managing the land,” said Rep. Walden.

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Backlash over popcorn ban

June 24, 2012 --

Cindy, Corn Commentary
National Corn Growers Association

New York City Mayor Bloomberg seems intent upon transforming the “City that Never Sleeps” into the “City that Never Eats.”  The latest food banning proposal being considered by the New York City Council would limit sizes of treats like popcorn and milkshakes. They have already agreed to put the ban on large size sodas up for a public hearing July 24.

Mayor Bloomberg did away with trans fats in the city back in 2006. He also started the National Salt Reduction Initiative to “help food manufacturers and restaurants voluntarily reduce the amount of salt in their products.” Talking about the initiative in 2010, Bloomberg admitted that he likes salt. “I put salt on my popcorn — as a matter of fact, popcorn without salt is not popcorn,” was the quote.

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Farmers priase Senate passage of 2012 Farm Bill

June 23, 2012 --

After nearly two weeks of commendable effort, the Senate moved for full passage of their version of the 2012 Farm Bill, S.3240 the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 by a 64-35 vote.
By National Association of Wheat Growers

NAWG President Erik Younggren, farmer from Hallock, Minn. commended the Senate for moving forward with the legislation. “This will provide policy certainty for hundreds of thousands of U.S. farmers and one in 12 American job earners who rely on agriculture.” “This bill is about standing up for our nation’s farmers, our small businesses, our manufacturers, our exporters and others whose livelihoods depend on us getting the policy right,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

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EPA Greenhouse rule hurts entire chain of Ag production

June 22, 2012 --

EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases Will Burden Farmers
By  American Farm Bureau Federation

Many of America’s farmers and ranchers will face economic challenges due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases, the American Farm Bureau Federation told a House subcommittee today. Carl Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, testified on behalf of AFBF before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

“Costs incurred by utilities, refiners, manufacturers and other large emitters to comply with GHG regulatory requirements will be passed on to the consumers of those products, including farmers and ranchers,” Shaffer said. “The end result is that our nation’s farmers and ranchers will be forced to contend with higher input costs to grow food, fiber and renewable fuels.”

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