(Courtesy of the Congressional Western Caucus)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04), Western Caucus Members Mike Johnson (LA-04), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Greg Gianforte (MT-AL) and Doug Collins (GA-09), and Representatives Buddy Carter (GA-01) and Daniel Webster (FL-11) released the following statements after 30 Members of Congress signed and sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Committees on Natural Resources and on Agriculture requesting that those Committees work together to address the numerous regulatory inefficiencies and statutory roadblocks in the agriculture community by modernizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and similarly outdated laws and regulations:
Congressman Johnson stated, “Farmers and ranchers are vital to our Louisiana economy and community. Unfortunately, out-of-control Washington bureaucrats have imposed overly burdensome regulations threatening their way of life and hindering their ability to work. The Endangered Species Act must be modernized to protect farmers and ranchers across the nation. They are the backbone of this nation and cannot afford to live under excessive regulations any longer.”
“Northeast Georgia’s poultry and farming communities bring food, jobs and economic growth to our country. These hardworking producers have been unnecessarily burdened by federal policies including the Endangered Species Act, which serve neither farmers nor the Americans that depend on their products. I haven’t found a bureaucrat more motivated or more equipped to steward our natural resources than local farmers, and I support the House’s efforts to bring them relief from misguided government red tape,” said Congressman Collins.
Congressman Emmer stated, “Today’s court ruling against the delisting of the gray wolf emphasizes why Congress needs to work to modernize the ESA. Minnesotans knows what is best for Minnesota, and we must work to be sure the voices of state and local stakeholders are taken into consideration. We cannot continue to force our farmers and ranchers to bear the brunt of these restrictions and costly regulations forced upon them by Washington bureaucrats. By modernizing the ESA, we have a real chance to bring our farmers, ranchers, agriculture community relief from the current regulatory regime.”
“The long reach of unnecessary federal regulations threatens the livelihoods of Montana farmers and ranchers. The Endangered Species Act, along with other outdated federal mandates have empowered environmental extremism and jeopardize our Montana way of life. We need common sense reform,” said Congressman Gianforte.
“Like most industries, overly restrictive mandates and nonsensical regulations from the federal government are choking the life out of family farms and ranches though out the country,” said Chairman Gosar. “Just yesterday, the House Committee on Agriculture heard testimony from an 8th generation farmer who indicated things are so tough that his family farm likely won’t survive another generation. The Endangered Species Act and federal rules affecting the Ag community need to be modernized and brought into the 21st century. Ranchers and farmers need relief. Wildlife and plants in danger of extinction need a functional system that meets recovery goals and gets these species off the endangered list. There is a lot that can be accomplished if we drop the rhetoric and work together.”
Congressman Carter stated, “As Georgia’s top industry, the hard work of our farmers and ranchers contributes to the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the world. These hardworking Americans need to be shielded from overregulation to ensure they are able to accomplish their important work without Washington standing in the way. One way to accomplish this is to modernize the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and similarly outdated laws and regulations and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make this happen.”
“Agriculture is one of the three pillars of Florida’s economy. Farmers and ranchers all over Florida grow and raise the food that ends up on kitchen tables around the world,” said Congressman Webster. “The economic engine of agriculture must be complimented with sound, long-term policies that balance the importance of protecting our nation’s beautiful lands. Unfortunately, overzealous bureaucrats in Washington turned the Endangered Species Act (ESA) into a weapon wielded against hard-working Americans. With President Trump, we have an opportunity to reform the ESA to ensure that it meets its purpose without destroying the livelihoods of those who work the land,” he concluded.
Today, 30 Members of the House signed and sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Committees on Natural Resources and on Agriculture—Chairmen Rob Bishop and Mike Conaway, and Ranking Members Raul Grijalva and Collin Peterson—urging them to work jointly to address the numerous regulatory inefficiencies and statutory roadblocks in the agriculture community by modernizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and similarly outdated laws and regulations.
To read the full signed letter click HERE.
On April 26, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) titled, “Promoting Agriculture and Prosperity in Rural America.” The EO established an interagency task force and made clear that it is “in the national interest to ensure that regulatory burdens do not unnecessarily encumber agricultural production, harm rural communities, constrain economic growth, hamper job creation or increase the cost of food for Americans and our customers around the world.”
Signers of the letter share these sentiments and believe that this Congress presents a bipartisan opportunity to address the many regulatory issues negatively impacting the agriculture community. They believe the Committees are well positioned to act on cost-saving, modernization measures that will bring the ESA and other rules into the 21st century. Signers indicated there may be no more important policy change for our nation’s agriculture community than reducing its crushing federal regulatory burden.
The letter encourages the Committees to work together to adopt a system that induces and incentivizes thoughtful and collaborative regulation. Such a process will empower farmers and ranchers to do what they do best—produce food and other agriculture products in abundance for the American people and the rest of the world.
The letter also makes clear that ESA and other federal regulations far too often result in a broken, burdensome process for farmers and ranchers, unfairly targeting them with costly compliance and unreasonable land restrictions.
As Congress works to preserve our nation’s precious biodiversity while simultaneously growing our nation’s economy, we must loosen the current ineffective regulatory stranglehold in favor of one that functions as intended.
The ESA was intended to be a tool to safeguard and rehabilitate species in need of special protections. However, private and governmental analyses alike indicate that the current law is failing to accomplish intended objectives.
As Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, recently explained:
Of 1,652 species of animals and plants in the U.S. listed as either endangered or threatened since the law was passed in 1973, only 47 species have been delisted due to recovery of the species.
In other words, the Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that less than 3 percent of species in the United States under the protection of the Endangered Species Act have recovered sufficiently to no longer necessitate the protection of the statute.
As a doctor, if I admit 100 patients to the hospital and only 3 recover enough under my treatment to be discharged, I would deserve to lose my medical license.
* * *
Letter cosigners (30): Representatives Mark Amodei, Brian Babin, Andy Biggs, David Brat, Ken Buck, Earl L. ‘Buddy’ Carter, Liz Cheney, Doug Collins, Sean Duffy, Jeff Duncan, Tom Emmer, Trent Franks, Mike Gallagher, Greg Gianforte, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Jody Hice, Mike Johnson, Walter Jones, Steve King, Raul Labrador, Doug Lamborn, Tom McClintock, Alex Mooney, Steve Pearce, David Schweikert, Scott Tipton, David Valadao, Daniel Webster, Roger Williams.