E-Newsletter

Ways Greg Can Help

5/14/12

Standing up for rights on the farm

The Department of Labor is backing off its ill-advised “Youth Ag Rule.” This is great news! Having grown up on a cherry orchard in The Dalles, I know that training the next generation of farmers and ranchers is a must if we want a stable food supply. The rule, which received heavy criticism from the farm and ranch community, would have discouraged young people from staying on the farm and made it impossible for programs like FFA and 4-H to continue giving kids important hands-on experience in agriculture.

In announcing the reversal, the Department of Labor said they will work with rural stakeholders in the future. They also said they withdrew the rule in response to thousands of comments expressing concern. Thanks to all who were vocal on this issue.

I’ve also cosponsored bipartisan legislation (H.R. 4965) to stop the EPA’s attempts to grab even more power under the Clean Water Act and extend its reach beyond the navigable waters where it currently has jurisdiction into intermittent streams, wetlands and many other areas throughout the West, including Oregon.

Earlier this year, the EPA submitted for Administration approval a 39-page “guidance” document that would significantly broaden the scope of the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and allow unprecedented federal regulation of waters. EPA’s use of “guidance” to accomplish this avoids the normal public rulemaking process and consultation with the states, which are the agencies’ partners in implementing the Clean Water Act. H.R. 4965 would prevent this or any other backdoor attempt to change the definition of “waters of the United States” and significantly increase the federal government’s power.

Here’s what Barry Bushue, the president of the Oregon Farm Bureau, said: "The EPA is seeking to fundamentally change the Clean Water Act and congressional intent. Rep. Walden recognizes that Oregon's farmers and ranchers take pride in being stewards of the land, while providing the most abundant and affordable food in the world."