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Missing Justice Scalia

Missing Justice Scalia

By Gary Joiner

The sudden passing of Supreme Court of the U.S. Justice Antonin Scalia sent shockwaves through our country’s political and legal communities.

And through agriculture.

Much is at stake right now for America’s farmers and ranchers at the nation’s highest court. There are important challenges to the expansive reach of federal agencies. These court rulings will impact everyday agriculture.

One case involves the Chesapeake Bay. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is challenging the EPA-led cleanup plan for the Bay. There’s no doubt opponents to the plan were counting on Scalia’s support in arguing the massive EPA blueprint infringes on states’ rights to determine land use.

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Fertilizer industry is serious about safety

Fertilizer industry is serious about safety

By Gary Joiner

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is in Waco. It’s hosting a public meeting to outline its report on the explosion of a fertilizer plant in West in 2013. The explosion obliterated the facility, killed 15 people and caused widespread damage to more than 150 nearby buildings. The event sent major shockwaves through the Texas farm and ranch community.

The report says federal agencies need to tighten their standards for ammonium nitrate. OSHA and EPA must do a better job, the board believes.

Who’s already doing a better job is the industry itself, those who handle and store fertilizer products. An organization called ResponsibleAg is helping.

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A farmer’s view of the Clean Water Act

A farmer’s view of the Clean Water Act

By Russell Boening
TFB President

As a fourth generation farmer in South Texas, you could say that I make my living with water. My crops will not grow without it. Our dairy cows will not give milk without enough fresh, clean water.

I use what we call “best management practices,” meaning that we comply with label directions, use conservation methods and other tools of modern agriculture. We also plant biotech crops. That means we use fewer and smaller amounts of chemicals than we needed two decades ago.

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5 things you should know about the EPA WOTUS rule

5 things you should know about the EPA WOTUS rule

By Mike Barnett

$37,500. Per incident. Per day. Per violation.

Does that grab your attention? It should.

That’s what you could be fined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if you have an unauthorized discharge of “pollutants” from your farmland that requires a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit. It’s all part of the new rule recently issued by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers defining waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). It expands the federal CWA jurisdiction over many landscape features found on farm, ranch and forest lands across the nation. The rule is expected to go into effect Aug. 28.

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‘I’m from the EPA. Trust me.’

‘I’m from the EPA. Trust me.’

By Gene Hall

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not been shy about pushing for a new clean water rule that extended its already considerable authority over land everywhere in the nation.

In doing so, EPA ignored previous Congressional decisions and Supreme Court decisions. They claimed a joint mission with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Now, documents have surfaced that the Corps was not all that keen on the EPA trampling over the facts.

EPA ignored public comments and engaged in a massive public relations program to sway those comments their way. This is more than playing fast and loose with the facts. This is astonishing arrogance that is confident nothing is standing in the way.

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