Updates & Reviews
Trump FWS Conditionally Supports GOP-Backed Endangered Species Act Modernization Bills
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at a House hearing earlier this month supported parts of five Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform bills introduced by Republicans. Greg Sheehan, the acting FWS Director was the lead government witness at hearing conducted by the House Natural Resources Committee.
“In general, the Administration supports these bills,” he said. “The Service welcomes the opportunity to work with the Committee to address recommended technical modifications.”
Mr. Sheehan's testimony also emphasized the importance of collaborative partnerships with landowners, states, tribes, and localities in order to gain critical research.
Farmer Lobbyists Fly in to Washington, D.C.
Focus on environmental laws, farm bill, infrastructure
A group of Family Farm Alliance members earlier this month hit the halls of Congress and agency conference rooms in downtown Washington, D.C., meeting with Trump Administration officials, Members of Congress, and Congressional staffers as part of the organization’s 2017 Farmer Lobbyist trip.
The purpose of this annual fly-in was for farmer lobbyists to discuss with members of Congress and their staff, and Trump Administration agency officials, crucial western water policies and issues, including infrastructure, drought, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, farm water programs and a new Farm Bill, and other issues that affect western irrigated farms and ranches.
Diverse Western Interests Find Common Ground
Coalition reaches agreement on conservation, ESA platform
A recent letter signed on to by several Western agricultural and conservation groups demonstrates that constructive interests can find common ground on volatile issues like species conservation and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The Western Agricultural and Conservation Coalition (WACC), a group of farming, ranching, water and conservation organizations that has been working for nearly a decade on matters of common interest critical to agriculture and the environment, recently transmitted to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee a letter outlining the platform agreed to on ESA and species conservation. The ongoing effort by the Western Governors Association (WGA) Species Conservation and ESA Initiative is a process that has had some influence on this effort, and is a process that the WACC has previously expressed formal support for. The WACC has yet to take a position on any recommendations that have come out of the WGA effort.
April 5, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) - Earlier today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed by voice vote the WILD Act, legislation supported by the Family Farm Alliance. The Committee press release on this matter mentions the Alliance's support. Alliance President Patrick O'Toole was also quoted in another Committee press statement that was released when the bill was introduced.
“The Family Farm Alliance has consistently supported the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, which helps to fund habitat work on private lands,” said Mr. O'Toole, a Wyoming rancher. “Western farmers and ranchers know that partnerships – not top-heavy regulations and litigation -can best provide for real species protections and recoveries. Our members also have strong concerns regarding the need to emphasize the proper management of invasive species. This bill places priority on the Partners Program and addresses the critical challenges Western water users face regarding invasive species management.”
Click here to learn more about the Alliance support position.
Secretary Perdue Joins
White House “Farmers Roundtable”
President Trump Issues Executive Order on Agriculture
The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on April 25 joined President Trump for a “Farmers Roundtable” at the White House to address issues facing the American agriculture community, as the president signed an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.
The roundtable discussion allowed representatives from all corners of American agriculture to raise concerns and share ideas, just as the task force begins its mission “to promote economic development and revitalization, job growth, infrastructure, innovation, and quality of life issues for rural America,” according to the president’s order.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue joined President Trump for a
Farmers Roundtable at the White House to discuss improving American agriculture.
Photo Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Donald J. Trump Sworn in as 45th President of the U.S.
Budget Cuts & Sweeping Freezes on Regulatory Actions Proposed
At noon on Friday, January 20, Donald J. Trump took the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States and Mike Pence was sworn in as the 48th Vice President of the United States. In his Inaugural Address, Mr. Trump hit out at the Washington political establishment, accusing elites of abusing the trust of the American people, and touting his "America first" mindset, he pledged to bring jobs back to the U.S.
Photo Source: AP Images
Click here to read the January 2017 2016 edition of the "Monthly Briefing" and learn more about these and other issues of interest to Western farmers and ranchers who rely upon irrigation:
After overwhelming House (360-61) and Senate (78-21) passage, President Barack Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Investments for the Nation (WIIN) Act into law on December 16, 2016.
Late in the night of December 9, the Senate passed (63-36) the FY 2017 appropriations ‘continuing resolution’ (CR), H.R. 2028, extending FY 2016 federal funding levels through April 28, 2017. The vote avoided a federal government shut-down. Then, the Senate easily passed the WIIN Act that included both the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA – S. 612) authorizing Corps of Engineers projects and policies and containing important California drought provisions and other West-wide natural resources items.
Hydrologic Conditions, Watershed Health, "Regulatory" Drought and More....
Droughts come and go in the West. The larger issue, the underlying problem, is the ever-present and worsening shortage of water. Droughts only exacerbate water shortages. They also highlight the need to re-examine how we manage our limited water resources in the West. This edition of the “Monthly Briefing” summarizes current Western drought conditions and provides an update on federal drought spending, action on Capitol Hill, wildfire conditions and possible remedies, and the regulatory nature of the California drought.
Click here to read the June 2016 edition of the "Monthly Briefing" to learn more about these issues, and the other following topics of interest to Western water users:
June 16, 2016
(Washington, D.C.) - The Family Farm Alliance (Alliance) earlier today expressed "grave concerns" and questioned the practical applicability of a recent draft streamflow report prepared by federal agencies. The Alliance transmitted a detailed formal comment letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), who earlier this year released Draft Technical Report: Protecting Aquatic Life from Effects of Hydrologic Alteration.