TSCRA President Richard Thorpe applauded U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the Department of Transportation for recognizing the concerns of ranchers and extending the agricultural exemption from the ELD mandate for an additional 90 days. “We continue to have serious concerns with the ELD mandate and its implications on hauling live animals, such as cattle. It is our hope that the additional time will allow DOT to develop livestock-specific solutions and still maintain safety on our roads,” Thorpe said. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also made a statement Wednesday about the decision: “The mandate imposes restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities,” he said. “If the agriculture industry had been forced to comply by the March 18 deadline, live agricultural commodities, including plants and animals, would have been at risk of perishing before they reached their destination. The 90-day extension is critical to give DOT additional time to issue guidance on hours-of-service and other ELD exemptions that are troubling for agriculture haulers.”
On behalf of TSCRA, President Richard Thorpe submitted formal comments Friday to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials raising a number of concerns and questions regarding a proposed Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail project.
The 2018 Texas Primary Elections were held on Tuesday and the overwhelming majority of candidates recommended by the TSCRA PAC either won their contests outright or advanced to a run-off election that will be conducted in May. TSCRA also this week submitted comments on a 5,600-page Draft Environmental Impact Study conducted the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on the Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Project.
As the primary election draws near, TSCRA leaders and staff are continuing to monitor a number competitive races and are working to ensure issues important to ranchers are a part of the conversation, especially with regard to private property rights. There was also action on support of USDA Wildlife Services and confirmation of the chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative
TSCRA President Richard Thorpe issued a statement following the Senate’s Thursday confirmation of Gregg Doud as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The confirmation comes as the seventh round of NAFTA talks continue in Mexico.
TSCRA staff participated in FFA Day at the Capitol and discussed advocacy with the attendees. TSCRA also submitted comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on hours of service and electronic logging devices for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The comments conclude, “We again urge the Agency to grant a waiver and limited exemption […]
TSCRA Govt and Public Affairs Roundup: Primary election candidates, Fever Tick Eradication Program and FARM Act
TSCRA Government and Public Affairs staff are continuing to monitor the upcoming Texas primary election and are engaging candidates to ensure they are supportive of issues important to cattle raisers. They are also involved in support of the Fever Tick Eradication Program in South Texas and the Fair Agricultural Reporting Act (FARM Act) to prevent farms and ranches from being regulated like toxic waste sites.
Ten Republicans and ten Democrats in the US Senate introduced bipartisan legislation that would prevent farms, ranches and other agricultural operations from having to report livestock manure data under CERCLA, the law that governs toxic Superfund sites. In this week’s Beltway Beef podcast, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager discusses the legislation and looks ahead to next steps, including what ranchers and farmers can do to push for passage. Read more…
TSCRA Government Affairs Roundup: Cattle Industry Convention, PAC voting recs, CERCLA/EPCRA movement and a WOTUS delay
Several TSCRA staff and leaders are in Phoenix, Arizona, this week attending the Cattle Industry Convention to represent TSCRA and assist development of policy on national issues. Closer to home the TSCRA Political Action Committee released their initial primary election voting recommendations. There was also movement this week on CERCLA and EPCRA; nomination of a Chief Ag Negotiator in the office of the USTR; and WOTUS implementation got a 2-year delay.
The EPA and Army Corp of Engineers have finalized a rule adding an applicability date to the 2015 Clean Water Rule. This rule provides clarity and certainty about which definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) is applicable nationwide in response to judicial actions that could result in confusion. The new applicability date will be two years after the action announced Jan. 31, 2018, and is published in the Federal Register, during which time both agencies will continue the process of reconsidering the 2015 Rule. TSCRA President Richard Thorpe said the delay will “give administration officials time to craft a new version of the rule. We look forward to working with EPA to ensure the replacement does not harm the men and women who raise our beef.”