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Trump’s Waters of the USA rule being challenged in court

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 7:10 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - When check-off programs became the norm back in the 1980s, the idea was to use the producer’s investments in their commodities for promotion, research and education of a specific commodity. But now more and more people are charging that that mission is getting rather fuzzy. So now lawmakers from 11 different states are asking the USDA to conduct a new vote on the $1 a head Beef Check-off. They say they have proof that some of the check-off dollars are being funneled away from their original intent and is being used by private associations that do not specifically represent U.S. beef. No word yet on if the USDA is leaning toward conducting a new vote.

Former president Donald Trump’s Waters of the USA rule is being challenged in the courts. The South Carolina Coastal Conservation league is charging in District court that the Navigable Waters Protection Act leaves too many waterways without protection. They cite figures from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers figures that show 92% of navigable waterways are not covered by any rules, leaving those waters open to pollution and destruction. But most agricultural groups support the Trump rule saying it simplified questions and made it less burdensome for farmers to deal with water issues on their land. Biden Administration officials say they are studying the issue but EPA Administrator Michael Regan recently told Congress they have no plans to revert back to the 2015 Waters of the USA Rule of the Obama Administration.

If some Conservatives in Congress get their way, funding for agriculture will look a lot different in the future. Those Republicans in the House are proposing spending cuts of $14 trillion over the next 10 years. For agriculture they want to get rid of the Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage programs, eliminate the dairy programs in the farm bill, reduce government support for crop insurance and would not allow any more land to be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.

A bipartisan group of Senators wants to get back to doing business with Cuba. Led by Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the group has introduced a bill to end all trade embargoes with the Cubans. They say it’s time to turn the page on the failed policies of isolation.

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