October 27, 2009
U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Get Reprieve in Interior Appropriations Conference Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Responding to bi-partisan pressure, a House and Senate conference committee approved language in the fiscal year 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill to exempt U.S livestock producers from debilitating new federal environmental regulations.
The provision to exempt farmers and ranchers from mandatory greenhouse gas reporting regulations for livestock manure systems was originally inserted by Rep. Tom Latham in the House version of the Interior bill on a bi-partisan vote in the Appropriations Committee, and was later approved on the House floor. These new regulations are expected to soon be required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
However, in pre-conference negotiations between House and Senate Democrat leaders, the provision was inexplicably stripped from the legislation. Rep. Mike Simpson, Ranking Republican on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, today offered a motion on the House floor to insist that the provision be included in the final conference report. The Simpson motion passed overwhelmingly with bi-partisan support.
“Farmers and ranchers around the country have gotten a much-needed reprieve with the exemption included in this conference report. These crippling new regulations would have placed a huge financial burden on our livestock producers – many of whom are already being hit hard by the recession,” House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis said.
The EPA’s regulations on livestock manure systems would have required producers to pay for prohibitively expensive reporting procedures – even though these emissions account for less than one percent of all emissions in the U.S. The Latham provision would exempt all livestock manure management system owners and operators from reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the EPA.