D.C. Watch: Focus on climate change and Clean Water Act
The government released a study called the National Climate Assessment last week that contends that climate change is already affecting our weather and that the impacts will get significantly worse if no action is taken. The study was mandated by Congress and was produced by more than 300 experts with oversight from a panel of 60 scientists. One of the lead authors of the chapter on agriculture says “one of the major takeaways from the report is that agriculture can adapt, but protecting land and water resources will become more critical”.
A letter signed by more than half of the members of the House of Representatives is calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to back off of its proposed rule to expand federal control under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule would redefine what qualifies as “waters of the United States” under the law. The letter contends that EPA’s proposed rule would directly contradict prior Supreme Court rulings that imposed limits on the extent of federal Clean Water Act authority. EPA’s analysis says the proposed rule results in a 2.7 percent increase in jurisdictional determinations and impact an additional 1,332 acres (not a typo!) nationwide and would cost between $133 million and $231 million annually. A comment period for EPA’s proposed rule is open from now through July 21.
Applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program and the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Programs are now being accepted. The programs will provide up to $386 million to help farmers restore wetlands, protect working agricultural land and boost rural economic activity, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Funds are available to purchase agricultural land easements that protect ag use and conservation values of eligible land. Applications must be submitted by June 6 – or the individual state deadline – whichever is earlier. For information, contact the local USDA Service Center or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.
A study prepared by PG Economics calculates the economic and environmental benefits of crop biotechnology. The study concludes that adoption of the technology has significantly reduced the release of greenhouse gas emissions and the use of chemical pesticides. Crop yields are higher and less land is required to produce soybeans, corn, canola and cotton. The net economic benefit in 2012 was put at about $47 per acre with the highest yield gains in developing countries. The analysis shows an economic return of $3.33 for every $1 spent on the technology. The study claims that the majority of benefits associated with crop biotechnology are in developing countries.
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- Tire makers race to turn dandelions into rubber
- Toro releases guide for using micro-sprinklers for IPM
- USDA to fund $25 million in value-added producer grants
- Crop futures mostly higher, livestock prices stabilizing
- Suppress Palmer pigweed with a ryegrass cover crop
- Deere to lay off more than 600 at four U.S. plants
- Slow pace of rail recovery stirs fear of future woes
- The four pillars of seeing opportunities in problems
- New DuPont Afforia herbicide introduced for soybeans
- RTK brings higher level of accuracy to farmers
- WinField introduces Answer Tech and Data Silo
- No El Niño in 2014? Drought-weary California in trouble
- Suspected Bt corn rootworm resistance in Pennsylvania
- BioNitrogen to build second fertilizer plant in Texas
- Commentary: Setting the record straight on 'Waters of the U.S.'
- Soybean aphid numbers on the rise
- Solar energy jobs increase, wind power decrease