Water Police, Part Three: EPA's definition of 'tributary'
If you missed parts one and two of this discussion about EPA Clean Water Act regulations, view EPA's Water Police, Part One: Coming to Your Farm? and Water Police, Part Two: EPA Proposal Won't Help Ag. EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, commenting on the new definition of what constitutes a water of the United States says, "To be clear: our proposal does not add to or expand the scope of waters historically protected under the Clean Water Act." Well, as Ronald Reagan would say, let's examine how EPA defines a "tributary." Then consider what Ms. McCarthy is saying. Click here to read the... View Expert Column Post »
Water Police, part two: EPA proposal won't help ag
If you missed part one of this discussion about EPA Clean Water Act regulations, view EPA's Water Police, Part One: Coming to Your Farm? The Drovers Cattle Network reprinted my comments regarding the EPA and Corps of Engineers' new definition of "Waters of the United States." A reader took umbrage at my reference to "ill-informed politicians" who attacked EPA's proposed land grab of private property. Devil is in the details on new government effort to regulate U.S. waters The reader suggested I too should read EPA's proposed rule "first" before commenting. He set forth exemptions EPA creates for agriculture, ranching... View Expert Column Post »
Baise: EPA's water police: Coming to your farm?
I just returned from Germany and Poland and was startled to discover the regulatory control the European Union exercises over its farmers and agriculture. This should not be a surprise, however, when a farmer has the EU paying one-half the cost of his tractor and/or farm equipment. In eastern Germany, we were also regaled with stories about the old communist government ordering planting on days it was raining. Unfortunately we are headed in the same direction here. The EPA has just released a new definition of "Waters of the United States." Critics are calling this the biggest government land grab... View Expert Column Post »
Baise: A ban on genetically engineered crops?
Despite a quarter century of promises, agricultural biotechnology has yet to provide any concrete advancements towards reducing world hunger, ameliorating global malnutrition, combating…, creating miracle drugs through GE [genetically engineered] plants or animals, or climate change." (WRONG!) On February 25, 2014, this statement was made by the Center for Food Safety, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Beyond Pesticides, and Center for Biological Diversity in a petition filed with the Secretary of Interior that seeks to ban genetically engineered crops from being used on National Wildlife Refuges. These anti-agriculture nongovernmental groups, as usual, do a... View Expert Column Post »
Will EPA regulate all water?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pushing to control the waters of the United States. And at least one political leader is pushing back. "To let EPA begin to regulate all waters of the United States would have devastating impacts on rural towns, farmers and local governments," says Congressman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho. His proposed legislation, called the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2013, is an effort to stop EPA from regulating virtually all water bodies in the U.S. He will likely fail. On January 27, I wrote about a term you will see frequently, called... View Expert Column Post »
Poultry cage laws create scrambled eggs
Editor's Note: The following blog looks at a case involving the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), California voters and Missouri Attorny General Chris Koster. California's Proposition 2 was passed in 2008 and required farm animals, including sows and egg-laying hens, to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. Read more about Proposition 2 here. The HSUS contributed more than $4 million in its campaign to garner support for the propsition. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is standing up for all of agriculture in a lawsuit filed on Feb.... View Expert Column Post »
EPA 'connectivity' to your farm and ranch
Since September, 2013, a number of organizations and writers have been describing a ticking time bomb coming from EPA to be delivered to all landowners. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have sent a draft regulation to the White House which looks like another EPA grab for power over all the surface water and ground water in the U.S. Every environmental group appears to be enthusiastically behind EPA. Apparently EPA proposes to control water runoff in the U.S. Readers need to make their Congressmen aware of EPA's scientific support and the... View Expert Column Post »
Baise: OSHA's grain bin gambit: Is it legal?
On July 16, 2007, Richard E. Fairfax, OSHA's Director, Directorate of Enforcement Programs, wrote to a firm in Baton Rouge, La. The firm had asked if "The Appropriations Act exempts small farming operations from enforcement of all rules, regulations, standards or orders under the Occupational Safety and Health Act." It also asked if a farming operation is exempt from all Occupational Safety and Health Act activities if it employs 10 or fewer individuals. Mr. Fairfax said, "Under OSHA's current appropriations law, OSHA is not allowed to spend any... View Expert Column Post »
Blog: Will EPA rewrite Midwest runoff regs?
Editor's Note: Gary H. Baise is an Illinois farmer and trial attorney at the law firm Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC, specializing in agricultural and environmental issues in state and federal court. He also serves as outside General Counsel for the U.S. Grains Council, Agricultural Retailers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and counsel to the American Soybean Association.In the Legal Outlook blog, Baise will shed light on legal issues facing agriculture. Additionally, he will include his impressions on what these issues mean to producers. A U.S. District Court judge in Louisiana has ordered EPA... View Expert Column Post »
Legal Outlook: Is livestock production causing climate change?
The new 2013 FAO Report from Rome states: "Livestock matters to climate change. The sector contributes 7.1 gigatonnes (giga=billion) CO2-eq (equivalent) to global anthropogenic GHG emissions – a contribution that can be readily reduced by up to one-third – placing the sector as an integral part of any solution to climate change. Once again, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has weighed-in against agriculture and livestock. The 115-page FAO report titled "Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock" was released Sept. 26. The report was written by several people, including Dr. Pierre Gerber, a... View Expert Column Post »
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