Congressional Sustainability Leaders Object to House Farm Bill

May 24, 2018 Issues: Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Water

Washington D.C. – SEEC leadership made the following statement in response to the announcement from House Republican Leadership that they will bring the House Farm Bill up for a vote again next month.

“The Farm Bill is supposed to be about supporting farmers, strengthening communities, and providing food for America, which is why we are disappointed to hear reports that this partisan bill is coming back to the floor in its same form. This bill contains unacceptable cuts to food assistance, damaging environmental policies, and cuts to important rural energy investments,” Said SEEC Co-Chairs Reps. Doris Matsui, Paul Tonko, and Gerry Connolly and SEEC Vice-Chairs Reps. Chellie Pingree, Alan Lowenthal, Mike Quigley, Matt Cartwright and Jared Polis.

“As the Senate works on their Farm Bill, we hope they will avoid damaging energy and environmental policies currently included in the House bill. These policies only add partisan, controversial baggage to the bill and jeopardize the ability of Congress to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill in the time needed. Cuts to popular conservation and rural energy programs and efforts to weaken bedrock environmental protections have no place in this bill.”

SEEC Members took to the House Floor last week to oppose damaging energy and environmental provisions in the House’s 2018 Farm Bill.

Access to a video of SEEC’s 30-minute special order led by Vice-Chair Rep. Chellie Pingree can be found here.  Reps. Paul Tonko, Jared Polis, Earl Blumenauer, Ed Perlmutter & Ron Kind participated in the event. In addition, SEEC Members Reps. Matt Cartwright, Raul Grijalva, Jared Polis, Keith Ellison, Annie Kuster, and Derek Kilmer made it to the House Floor throughout the week.

In particular, members spoke out against policies that would:

·         Cut conservation funding by nearly $1 billion dollars

·         Eliminate mandatory funding for the Rural Energy for American Program (REAP)

·         Weaken public health, wildlife, and public input protections guaranteed under the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.

·         Repeal the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule

·         Compromise the Roadless Area Conservation Rule by exempting the national forests in Alaska from its protection, including the largest remaining intact temperate rainforest in the world, the Tongass National Forest.

Members of SEEC leadership also sent a letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway outlining many of their concerns with the bill. A copy of the letter was shared with the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry as well as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture.

A signed copy can be found here.