For the Week Ending February 9, 2018
NPPC TESTIFIES ON FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES
NPPC Past President Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, testified this week before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works regarding the impact of environmental regulations on the nation’s livestock farmers. Dr. Hill urged committee members to find a legislative solution for the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). In April 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected an exemption for farms from reporting emissions under CERCLA and EPCRA. Prior to the April decision, all farms were exempt from reporting emissions under CERCLA, and only concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) were required to report under EPCRA. Last week, the court granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s motion for another extension of the farm emissions reporting deadline. Dr. Hill also emphasized pork producers’ commitment to being responsible stewards of the environment, including the capabilities for current indoor housing methods to properly manage manure storage and control runoff.
NPPC JOINS PETITION FOR WOTUS INJUNCTION
NPPC and a diverse coalition of agricultural and business groups on Wednesday filed a request in federal court for a nationwide preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. The Clean Water Act regulation issued in 2015 by the EPA gave the agency broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters. A federal appeals court in the fall of 2015 halted implementation of the rule, but a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that lawsuits against the WOTUS Rule should be heard at the federal District Court level lifted that court’s stay. EPA, which last year announced it would repeal and replace the rule, recently proposed to amend the existing regulation to delay the applicability date for two years. It is expected soon to propose a regulation to rescind the rule, then promulgate a new rule based on input from regulated parties, including farmers. In asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas for a stay of the WOTUS Rule, NPPC and the other organizations argue that the EPA’s repeal-and-replace process likely will be subjected to legal challenges and, therefore, that a nationwide preliminary injunction is imperative.
CONGRESS PASSES TWO-YEAR BUDGET DEAL
Following a brief overnight government shutdown, Congress passed a two-year government spending and disaster relief deal amounting to $300 billion. Signed by President Trump Friday morning, the agreement will fund the government through March 23, allowing Congress additional time to author a full-year budget plan. The bill contains $89 billion in disaster funding and allocates $3.5 billion toward the agriculture industry, providing assistance to livestock farmers impacted by wildfires and hurricanes last year. The measure will increase funding for dairy farmers and provide larger subsidies for cotton growers, mitigating what has been a challenging component of the ongoing Farm Bill negotiations. The bipartisan deal passed the House 240-186 and the Senate 71-28.
NPPC LOOKS TO EXPAND TRADE WITH SOUTH AFRICA
NPPC this week submitted comments as part of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) investigation of U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa. Last November, following the receipt of a letter from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, USITC launched its investigation into expanding trade in the region. The investigation will examine opportunities for trade expansion between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. pork industry has seen increased pork sales with South Africa following the country’s decision to partially lift its ban on pork imports. During the first nine months of 2017, U.S. sales to the nation reached 946 metric tons, a 200 percent increase from 2016. South Africa restricts the import of pork from countries with Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), though the World Health Organization has claimed that trade does not increase the risk of transmitting the disease. The nation also requires non-frozen pork imports to be tested for trichinae, though the parasite is not present in commercial pork. NPPC supports lifting the trade restrictions imposed by South Africa, which would support the U.S. pork industry’s efforts to expand export markets throughout the region. The USITC is looking to deliver its final report to the USTR by April 30.
SENATE COMMITTEE ASSESSES IARC CARCINOGEN CLASSIFICATION PROGRAM
On Tuesday, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology conducted a hearing related to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph Program, which identifies and evaluates environmental causes of cancer in humans. In 2015, IARC classified glyphosate, the most widely used pesticide in the world, as a Class 2A carcinogen – a substance that is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Reports revealed that IARC excluded data and statistical findings that would have contradicted its conclusion that glyphosate poses a human cancer risk. In December of 2017, the EPA concluded that “glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” A large aggregation of input from agencies across the globe, including the World Health Organization itself and the European Food Safety Agency, has determined that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Also in 2015, IARC classified red meat as a Class 2A carcinogen, proclaiming that the consumption of red and processed meats increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Conclusions were based on results lacking statistical significance and the ability to determine a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of red meat and the likelihood of contracting cancer. NPPC supports research efforts based on and interpreted through sound science.
STATE PORK ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETINGS ROLL ON
Throughout February, many state pork associations will host their annual meetings. For more on the meetings, visit NPPC’s website here.
SEVENTH ROUND OF NAFTA RENEGOTIATION TALKS APPROACHING
Trade negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico will meet Feb. 26-March 6 in Mexico City for the seventh round of renegotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement.
NATIONAL PORK INDUSTRY FORUM SET
The National Pork Industry Forum will be in held in Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 28 to March 2. NPPC will also conduct its annual meeting, electing new officers and members to its board of directors.