Archive for September, 2009
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association spent a great deal of time this summer addressing the EPA’s proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gases. The EPA has concluded its work on this regulation. Like clockwork, the Humane Society is already pressuring EPA to regulate cattle feeding operations that feed 1000 head or more. USCA is currently reaching out to industry groups, Congress, USDA and EPA to ensure that this movement by HSUS is unsuccessful.
Plus, House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) asked the GAO to review federal efforts to collect data on antibiotic use in animals. USCA remains engaged in this issue and urges Congress and the Administration not to place wide-range restrictions on antibiotic usage. Articles referencing the EPA, HSUS, and the Slaughter letter can all be found in the next post.
Articles referencing the EPA, HSUS, and the Slaughter letter can all be found below:
Activists petition EPA to regulate CAFO air emissions
A coalition of activist organizations filed a formal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 21 seeking to add confined animal feeding operations to the list of operations regulated under the Clean Air Act’s endangerment standard. The coalition, which includes the Humane Society of the United States, the Waterkeepers Alliance, and Friends of the Earth, seeks to add CAFOs to the list of stationary sources which produce air pollution “which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” The EPA Administrator is required to keep such a list under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.
The petition points out that Section 111 “defines a ’stationary source’ as ‘any building, structure, facility, or installation which emits or may emit an air pollutant.’” It notes EPA uses the word “facility” in its regulatory definition of CAFOs.
The petition charges that CAFOs emit air pollutants, specifically,
Greenhouse gases that cause or contribute to climate change;
Hydrogen sulfide that cause or contribute to hydrogen sulfide exposure, localized odors, acid rain, and haze;
Ammonia that causes or contributes odors, ecosystem acidification and eutrophication, and haze;
Particulate matter and small particulates that cause or contribute to particle pollution, acid rain, and haze;
And certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause or contribute to localized odors, ground-level ozone, and haze.
The petition is online.
HSUS news release
EPA will require greenhouse gas reporting
By Drovers news source (9/23/2009)
On Jan. 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will, for the first time, require large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas data under a new reporting system. This new program will cover approximately 85 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and apply to roughly 10,000 facilities.The only emission source in the agriculture sector covered by the rule is manure management systems at livestock operations with greenhouse gas emissions that meet or exceed the threshold of 25,000 metric tons, according to an EPA Frequently Asked Questions supplement. EPA modeling estimates that just over 100 manure management systems at large livestock operations meet this threshold.If emissions from a manure management system at a livestock facility are less than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year either due to the system size, design, or as a result of a methane capture system, then that facility would not be required to report. Methane that is captured for use rather than emitted does not count toward the threshold level.“This is a major step forward in our effort to address the greenhouse gases polluting our skies,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “For the first time, we begin collecting data from the largest facilities in this country, ones that account for approximately 85 percent of the total U.S. emissions. The American public, and industry itself, will finally gain critically important knowledge and with this information we can determine how best to reduce those emissions.”EPA’s new reporting system will provide a better understanding of where greenhouse gases are coming from and will guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce emissions. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and provide assistance in identifying cost effective ways to reduce emissions in the future. This comprehensive, nationwide emissions data will help in the fight against climate change.
Slaughter Asks GAO for Additional Data on Antibiotic Use In Animals
Monday, September 21, 2009
Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter, Chair of the House Committee on Rules, asked the GAO to review federal efforts to collect data on antibiotic use in animals. Slaughter’s request comes after she first raised the issue of non therapeutic use of antibiotics in animals as a national and urgent health crisis that jeopardizes the public health.
This past summer, Slaughter held a hearing to focus on the use of antibiotics in farm animals and to discuss her legislation, which would place limits on the use of those medications. At her hearing, the Food and Drug Administration agreed that this issue is a problem. Currently, Slaughter’s legislation to limit the use of antibiotics has 50 cosponsors.
Slaughter’s letter is below:
September 21, 2009
Mr. Gene L. Dodaro
Government Accountability Office
441 G St., NW
Washington, DC 20548
Dear Mr. Dodaro:
I am requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the status of federal efforts to track and monitor data on antibiotic use in animals and report on their progress in assessing and mitigating the human health risk related to antibiotic use in animals. As you may know, I introduced H.R. 1549, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act to address these critical issues and the Committee received an original jurisdiction referral.
The rapid increase in antibiotic resistance is a public health burden that experts attribute to the extensive use of antibiotics in humans and animals. Antibiotics continue to be used to promote growth, prevent disease, and treat disease in animals raised for human consumption.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been working for nearly two decades on efforts to track and monitor data on antibiotic use in animals to assess the human health risk related to antibiotic use in animals and help mitigate that risk. Yet, in a 2005 report entitled Antibiotic Resistance: Federal Agencies Need to Better Focus Efforts to Address Risk to Humans from Antibiotic Use in Animals, GAO found that data were not being collected on the types and amounts of antibiotics used in different species of food animals or whether they were used to promote growth, prevent disease, or treat disease.
Specifically, I would like for the study to address the following key areas:
What data exist on the types and quantities of antibiotics used in food animals and on the purposes for which they are used?
What further data do USDA, FDA, and CDC believe are needed to assess and mitigate the risks to humans from antibiotic use in animals and what efforts are underway or are needed to collect these data?
To what extent is USDA monitoring food animals and meat for the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens, such as E. Coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Listeria?
How effectively is FDA overseeing industry compliance with currently approved animal antibiotics and uses for these antibiotics?
What is FDA’s plan and timeframe for reevaluating the antibiotics (and antibiotic uses) that it has approved for animals?
What efforts have USDA, FDA, and CDC taken to assess the human health risks related to antibiotic use in animals, and what have the assessments shown?
Thank you for your immediate attention to this request. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact a member of my staff.
Louise M. Slaughter
Member of Congress
Due to a high volume of questions and requests for additional informatio on the proposed estate tax repeal bills [H.R. 3050, H.R. 3524, and S. 722], the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) will be hosting a special Horn Wrap call for discussions. Representatives from the C2 Group here in Washington D.C. will be providing expert insight into what these bills do and what the road map looks like for their potential passage. So if you want to find out the latest and have questions on what the substance is on these bills, call in next Tuesday, September 29th:
Special Horn Wrap Call
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
6 am PDT, 7 am MDT, 8 am CDT, 9 am EDT
Congress remains extremely busy here in Washington D.C. as the House spent the day debating a number of measures including short-term extensions of the Highway Trust Fund and the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as a bill to establish a Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Area. The Senate spent the day considering amendments to the fiscal 2010 Interior-Environment spending bill. The Senate Finance Committee continues its debate on the Health Care bill. The committee worked until late this evening on the bill and work will continue on it tomorrow. Chairman Baucus has promised that the Finance Committee will have a final markup on the bill by the end of the week.
Tonight I played in the annual Hoops for Hope Charity Basketball game. It was a great opportunity for lobbyists and Congressional members and staff to team up and raise money for a good cause: kids!!
Unfortunately we lost the game, but as always the kids who are recipients of the dollars raised are the winners – and that makes it all worthwhile!
Check out the Hoops for Hope website to see how the all the action shots!
Today was tough day as I finished up packing my bags and cleaned out the Blue Bandit. The pickup was a bit messy; two weeks on the road will do that! I fueled up at the Heights Conoco and was feeling a bit down and out as I thought about the long trip ahead of me.
After paying for my fuel I walked into the newly opened Koffee Station for a coffee. I was excited to learn that it serves Montana raised beef hamburgers! So friends if you are driving through Billings, you need to stop at the Koffee Station at Main and Pemberton in the Heights. I got into a conversation with their owner Tim Sanner and complimented him for supporting Montana ranchers. We got into a good conversation, and he asked me what I did. I told him about my work in Washington, D.C. on behalf of rural Americans and production agriculture. He said, “It’s great to know guys like you are fighting for those things back in Washington. Keep up the good work!”
Well I gotta’ say, after shooting the breeze with Tim and having this conversation, I was motivated to get on that flight and jump back into the rat race that awaited me back in Washington, D.C.
Thanks Tim for the good coffee and pep talk! I look forward to coming back and grabbing a burger at your Koffee Station!