WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released a draft of the Agriculture Creates Real Employment (ACRE) Act.
“Ranchers and farmers in Wyoming, and across America, are the first and best environmental stewards,” said Barrasso. “The ACRE Act is commonsense legislation to provide certainty for our farmers and ranchers. My bill would give them relief from burdensome and ineffective regulations. We need to make things simpler for the ranchers and farmers who feed and clothe the nation.”
The ACRE Act would protect ranchers, farmers, and livestock markets from burdensome federal overregulation. The draft bill incorporates several pieces of bipartisan legislation within the EPW Committee’s jurisdiction that would help defend agricultural industries from punishing federal rules and reporting requirements. The bill also includes language supporting an efficient permitting process for predator control at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The ACRE Act would:
- Maintain the EPA’s 2008 exemption for certain farm conditions, including air emissions from animal waste, from reporting requirements within the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA);
- Protect personal producer information and identity privacy;
- End duplicative environmental permitting for pesticide application requirements;
- Prevent penalties to farmers who are conducting normal agricultural operations that could be considered “baiting” of migratory game birds; and
- Require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to process take and harassment permits in a timely manner, while maintaining compliance with other laws.
The individual bills included in the ACRE Act are:
- S. 2421, Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act (sponsored by Sen. Fischer) – 31 bipartisan cosponsors;
- S. 1206, to ensure fair treatment in licensing requirements for the export of certain echinoderms (sponsored by Sen. King) – 1 bipartisan cosponsor;
- S. 478, the Hunter and Farmer Protection Act (sponsored by Sen. Cotton) – 3 bipartisan cosponsors;
- S. 340, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act (sponsored by Sen. Crapo) – 18 bipartisan cosponsors;
- S. 1343 [113th Congress], the Farmer Identity Protection Act (sponsored by Sen. Grassley) – 5 bipartisan cosponsors in the 113th Congress;
- H.R. 5961 [112th Congress], the Farmer’s Privacy Act (sponsored by Sen. Capito) – 14 bipartisan cosponsors in the 112th Congress;
- S. 219, Safeguard Aquaculture Farmers Act (sponsored by Sen. Cotton) – 5 cosponsors; and
- S. 1207, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act (sponsored by Sen. Fischer) – 8 cosponsors.
Read the text of the ACRE Act here.
On February 7, 2018, Wyoming’s Niels Hansen, secretary and treasurer of the Public Lands Council and member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, testified at an EPW Committee hearing on “the Impact of Federal Environmental Regulations and Policies on American Farming and Ranching Communities.” Hansen told the committee about the effects that “one-size-fits-all” environmental regulations have on Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers, and their ability to do their jobs.
On March 8, 2018, the EPW subcommittee on superfund, waste management, and regulatory oversight held a hearing titled, “Legislative Hearing on S. 2421, the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act.” Barrasso is a cosponsor of the FARM Act.