Sep 30, 2021EPA’s administrator signals timeline for new WOTUS rule
At a recent National Association of State Departments of Agriculture meeting, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announced his intention to restore regulations defining “waters of the U.S.” to those that were in place before the Obama Administration’s 2015 rule as early as November. Once in place, the Agency would issue a new proposal redefining WOTUS a year later.
Administrator Regan said it is the Biden Administration’s plan to develop its own regulation, leveraging the lessons learned from the 2015 Clean Water Rule and the Trump Administration’s 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which was vacated by a federal court.
“The National Potato Council (NPC) and many of our colleagues in agriculture had serious concerns about the previous WOTUS. Subjecting producers to regulatory jeopardy and the thousands of dollars per day in fines that goes with it does not provide the environment with additional benefits. Instead, it simply makes our farms less competitive and our relationship with the federal government more strained. We hope that the current Administration seeks to avoid those previous mistakes,” said Dominic LaJoie, NPC 2021 President.
In addition to protecting water resources, Administrator Regan stressed that any new regulation must provide clarity and certainty for growers, and that current exemptions for normal farming activities and prior converted cropland would continue.
Ag group want to keep chlorothalonil
This week, NPC and state potato organizations issued comments on EPA’s docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0840-0035 regarding the pending re-registration of chlorothalonil to help ensure the future availability of this valuable and economical tool for potato production in the United States.
In the letter, the groups write they support EPA’s efforts to harmonize pesticide tolerances with CODEX, wherever possible. They argue, however, they “believe it is important to recognize that the proposed alignment with CODEX for residues in potatoes, from 0.1 ppm to 0.3 ppm may be perceived to create a trade barrier with Canada, the fact that maximum application rates are not changing should not result in increased residue.”
Additionally, the organizations write of their concern with the agency’s use of maximum annual application rates in modeling to predict environmental and human risk, when chlorothalonil is rarely used at full label rates but rather as a part of a mixed application of products to control disease.
The full comments are available here.
NPC opposes efforts to abandon Farm Workforce Modernization Act
On Sept. 26, the Senate Parliamentarian found that Democrats’ attempts to include immigration changes in the reconciliation bill did not comply with Senate procedural rules governing the reconciliation process. Democrats had been pushing to use the bill to include a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, as well as agriculture labor reform measures.
As Congress continues to consider avenues for advancing immigration reform, this week more than 50 left wing activist labor, food and other organizations released a letter urging President Biden, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and legislators to abandon the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA) including its security provisions and H-2A reforms.
“When the ‘Democratic Socialists’ and other extremists are working against you, that’s probably a good sign you’re on the right track. The House passage of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act was an important first step in solving agriculture’s labor crisis. The Senate now needs to improve on the bill and we urge them to move forward on that work immediately,” said R.J. Andrus, V.P. of Legislative Affairs for NPC.
PLEAF hosting auction
The Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF) is once again hosting an auction at the industry’s Potato Expo 2022, Jan. 5-6 in Anaheim, California. Proceeds will support Potato LEAF’s leadership development efforts for the potato industry, including the Potato Industry Leadership Institute.
Potato LEAF is seeking auction items for both a live and silent auction, such as:
Items, services, or experiences valuing $50 or greater; and,
Donations such as product, equipment, sporting event packages, unique experiences, vacation experiences, etc.
Select items will be part of the live auction held during the Potato Expo 2022 Kick-off Reception on Wed., Jan. 5 in the Expo Hall from 5:30-6:15pm. Bidding on silent auction items will begin on Dec. 1, 2021, and close at 5 p.m. PST Jan. 6, 2022.
Don’t have a donation item in mind? Potato LEAF has access to a wide variety of auction items, ranging from U.S. and international getaways to memorabilia beginning around $200. If you are interested in exploring these options, contact us at [email protected].
— National Potato Council