Baise: EPA's new water definition would devastate business

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There is "…overwhelming evidence that EPA's proposed WOTUS [Waters of the U.S.] rule would have a devastating impact on businesses of all sizes, States, and local governments without any real benefit to the environment,…" says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber, along with other business groups, has prepared and released a letter to EPA and Corps of Engineers comprised of 44 pages. The letter describes and criticizes EPA's grab for power over land use in the United States. I have written frequently about EPA's misrepresentations regarding what defines a "Water of the U.S." In... View Blog Post »

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Baise: 'Waste Book' details government, USDA spending

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U.S. Republican Senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, M.D., has just released his "Waste Book 2012" report. It is 131 pages demonstrating waste of your taxpayer money by federal agencies and departments. Coburn identifies 100 projects – many of them from USDA – costing over $18 billion. As you read his report or this column, you have to wonder how bad the judgment is of many federal bureaucrats in USDA. Examples USDA is spending $300,000 to promote caviar. Fish Processors of Idaho was given a $300,000 grant to create a website, print fliers and send the company's owner to trade shows. The... View Blog Post »

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Baise: Judge dismisses Calif. egg law case but not all is lost

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A U.S. District Court judge in California on October 2, 2014, told six Attorneys General they did not have a case when they challenged a California law which requires an increase in cage size for egg-laying hens in every state, not just California. California produces about 5.5 billion eggs per year. The entire United States produces approximately 93 billion eggs annually. Iowa is the # 1 producer at 14.5 billion and 2.15 billion are shipped to California. All other states ship another 7 billion eggs to California. The average U.S. consumer eats approximately 250 eggs per year. Based on a proposition passed by... View Blog Post »

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Baise: Corn wars: A legal battle over GMO traits

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Cargill has filed a lawsuit against Syngenta Seeds, Inc. accusing it of commercializing a GMO trait (MIR 162) corn seed not yet approved for importation into China. Cargill claims it is losing millions of dollars as a result of China refusing to take U.S. corn with the Syngenta trait. Let's look at the complaints filed in court, rather than the dueling press release stories. Cargill accuses Syngenta of not practicing "responsible stewardship" in commercializing a GMO event before receiving approval from China to export the corn. China, since November, 2013, has been rejecting imports of U.S. corn due to the presence of Syngenta's... View Blog Post »

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Baise: Are radical nutritionists hijacking federal dietary guidelines?

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"The federal committee crafting the 2015 'Dietary Guidelines for Americans' features radical nutritionists who favor Americans moving to 'plant-based' diets and a vice chair that laughs about sending Ronald McDonald to the guillotine." --The Washington Free Beacon, March 12, 2014. The federal committee being described is the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee which is a joint venture between USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services. Every five years it meets to make official nutrition recommendations to the American public. Several publications claim that "green radicals" want to plan your food menu and have stacked the Committee with radical green activists who... View Blog Post »

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Baise: EPA Administrator McCarthy's myths and misinformation

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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke to the Agricultural Business Council on July 10 in Kansas City. One news report claims she said to forget about the myths and misinformation about EPA's proposed interpretative rule for the Clean Water Act. I suggest you read Ms. McCarthy's remarks. It is sad to see an Administrator give an address to farmers and the ag industry which says absolutely nothing. Ms. McCarthy attempts to divert agriculture's attention by saying EPA's new rules will not shut down July 4 fireworks nor is EPA trying to regulate rain in puddles... View Blog Post »

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Water Police, part four: EPA's definition of 'adjacent waters'

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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has been forceful in claiming EPA's definition of "waters of the United States" is merely a clarification and not an expansion of EPA's authority. You can decide whether EPA is expanding its jurisdiction. EPA further claims it is reducing confusion and reducing transaction costs for the regulated community and government agencies. Click here to read the blogpost. Gary H. Baise is a principal at OFW Law (Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz P.C.). This article first appeared in Farm Futures magazine. The opinions presented here are expressly those of the author. For more information, go to... View Blog Post »

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Water Police, Part Three: EPA's definition of 'tributary'

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If you missed parts one and two of this discussion about EPA Clean Water Act regulations, view EPA's Water Police, Part One: Coming to Your Farm? and Water Police, Part Two: EPA Proposal Won't Help Ag. EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, commenting on the new definition of what constitutes a water of the United States says, "To be clear: our proposal does not add to or expand the scope of waters historically protected under the Clean Water Act." Well, as Ronald Reagan would say, let's examine how EPA defines a "tributary." Then consider what Ms. McCarthy is saying. Click here to read the... View Blog Post »

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Water Police, part two: EPA proposal won't help ag

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If you missed part one of this discussion about EPA Clean Water Act regulations, view EPA's Water Police, Part One: Coming to Your Farm? The Drovers Cattle Network reprinted my comments regarding the EPA and Corps of Engineers' new definition of "Waters of the United States." A reader took umbrage at my reference to "ill-informed politicians" who attacked EPA's proposed land grab of private property. Devil is in the details on new government effort to regulate U.S. waters The reader suggested I too should read EPA's proposed rule "first" before commenting. He set forth exemptions EPA creates for agriculture, ranching... View Blog Post »

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Baise: EPA's water police: Coming to your farm?

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I just returned from Germany and Poland and was startled to discover the regulatory control the European Union exercises over its farmers and agriculture. This should not be a surprise, however, when a farmer has the EU paying one-half the cost of his tractor and/or farm equipment. In eastern Germany, we were also regaled with stories about the old communist government ordering planting on days it was raining. Unfortunately we are headed in the same direction here. The EPA has just released a new definition of "Waters of the United States." Critics are calling this the biggest government land grab... View Blog Post »

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Gary H. Baise
Gary H. Baise | Gary H. Baise is an Illinois farmer and trial attorney at the law firm Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC, specializing in agricultural and environmental issues in state and federal court. He also serves as outside General Counsel for the U.S. Grains Council, Agricultural Retailers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and counsel to the American Soybean Association. Baise is actively involved in a number of agricultural associations, including the Farm Foundation. He also formerly served on the USDA's Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Illinois University and a Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University. In the Legal Outlook blog, Baise will shed light on legal issues facing agriculture. Additionally, he will include his impressions on what these issues mean to producers. He is a contributor to Farm Futures magazine, where his comments, through the Defending Agriculture column, are initially published.


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