The House and Senate are at odds over the Farm Bill – and endangered species, clean water and human health are at risk. Federal policies relating to farm subsidies and conservation incentives are major factors in determining what happens to America’s landscape.
Approximately 85 percent of threatened and endangered species rely on private lands such as farm and ranch lands for their habitat and survival – irresponsible management is a key threat to these delicate species.
Your representatives in Congress need to hear from you. Urge them to call for and support a pro-conservation and pro-wildlife Farm Bill.
As House and Senate Farm Bill negotiators finish work on a final version of the bill, it is critical that their final compromise draft contains important conservation safeguards for water and wildlife habitat. It should not undermine state and federal laws protecting our environment.
The Senate-passed farm bill, S. 954, would do much more to protect our shared natural resources than the bill passed by the House, H.R. 2642. The compromise draft being negotiated right now between the House and the Senate should include the Senate's protections for sensitive soil and wetlands known as "conservation compliance" and the "Sodsaver" provision that similarly protects vanishing native prairie. These are reasonable commitments to ask our farmers in exchange for generous taxpayer crop insurance subsidies.
Negotiators must also reject provisions in H.R. 2642 that weaken benchmark federal environmental laws and invalidate numerous state laws that govern food production and farm operations. Section 10012 of the House bill represents a direct attack on the Endangered Species Act, giving pesticide manufacturers a free pass on chemical use that may have grave effects on threatened and endangered species. Additionally, section 10013 would eliminate any authority for the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor or limit the amount of toxic pesticides being applied directly into fresh water bodies water that provides not only habitat for aquatic species but also the very water that our families drink. Finally, section 12312, known as the King Amendment, would invalidate state laws that encourage environmentally sound farming or seek to prevent the spread of invasive species across state borders.
Each of these provisions would take us backward in our efforts to protect our natural resources and biodiversity, and in sum they add up to the greatest threat to our environment to be considered in this Congress.
As your constituent, I urge you to work with your colleagues to support a final Farm Bill that contains conservation compliance and Sodsaver protections and eliminates damaging anti-environmental riders, and to vote against any version that does not meet these criteria. If those changes are part of a final Farm Bill, you should be proud to support passage of this important conservation legislation.
Thank you for your consideration.
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