The $1.1 trillion omnibus package passed by the Senate today held several strong wins for the cattle industry. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Bob McCan and Public Lands Council President Brenda Richards remarked on Senate Passage of 2015 Funding Legislation:
“We greatly appreciate Congress’ passage of this important legislation which contained a number of critical provisions that will support the viability of our industry for the year to come. The bill made a major step in addressing over-burdensome regulation from the EPA by withdrawing the Interpretative Rule as part of the Waters of the United States proposed regulation. The rule, which attempts to clarify farming and ranching provisions under the Clean Water, adds uncertainty rather than explanation for landowners and threatens fines of up to $37,500 per day. While not a complete fix, this is a critical step in addressing the strong concerns farmers and ranchers have with this regulation.
“Viable public lands and the ranchers who lease those acres are critical not only to the cattle industry, but to the preservation of those lands for multiple use, wildlife habitat and wildfire prevention and suppression. The bill kept ranchers in the West on the land, holding budgets for the BLM and Forest Service level, despite the President’s request to cut funding for federal grazing and range programs.
“There is language included that prevents the Interior Department from listing the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act for the fiscal year and the additional funding to continue sage grouse conservation efforts is important to prevent a future listing of the bird. Listing the sage grouse would take the most successful natural resource stewards, ranchers, off the land.
“The bill also contained continued assurance on a number of environmental regulations. Specifically, the bill prevents funding for the EPA to require cattle producers to obtain greenhouse gas permits for livestock and to prevent mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.
“The passage by both the House and Senate is a clear message that Congress supports our industry and is willing to put a stop the overzealous Administration and their attempt to take production agriculture off the land.”