The following information is a Web Extra from the pages of Farm Journal. It corresponds with "Policy Journal - Regulations in the Crosshair." You can find the article on page 54 in the February 2011 issue.
The new Republican chairs of several key congressional panels have announced plans to review what they see as a major expansion of regulations issued by the Obama administration. And EPA is one of the most- mentioned agencies that these lawmakers are expecting to target via hearings in the weeks and months ahead.
From an overall perspective, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) takes over as the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He has been critical of the administration and now being in charge of the panel gives him even more resources. Already, Issa sent letters to more than 150 business groups in which he asked them to provide a “list of existing and proposed regulations that would harm job growth.” No doubt those responses will form the basis of some of his panel’s efforts this year and beyond.
Already, Upton has chosen to split the panel’s subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Climate change skeptic Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) will head up the Environment and Economy subcommittee and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) will chair the Energy and Power subcommittee. The environment subcommittee will have the Clean Water Act and waste and recycling issues on its docket while the energy panel will handle energy issues and the Clean Air Act.
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will be headed up by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and he signals while he is not a climate skeptic, he does want to question those in the scientific community to make sure they have used sound science in their efforts to forward action on climate change.
Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) is head of the Appropriations panel and he wants to potentially use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to target EPA regs. The CRA allows Congress to override regulations via a simple majority vote in both chambers. But there are limitations, including that CRA challenges can only come within 60 days of a rule being published. So that may limit how much it can be used on climate change issues.
AFBF action brought praise from Rep. Lucas, who noted, “I want to commend Farm Bureau for taking a strong stance on one of the most significant issues facing American agriculture: the hostile regulatory approach of EPA. As the new Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, I pledge to hold vigorous oversight of the administration on a number of issues that threaten the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers.”
New Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said her experience with EPA on auto issues puts her in an interesting spot when it comes to ag regulatory issues. “I am proud to also represent our manufacturers and our American auto industry, which means that I have some experience working with the EPA, and finding bipartisan solutions to those issues that can protect our environment while also protecting growers and producers and our way of life,” she said.