Text: H.R.1304 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/20/2013)


113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 1304


To permit the chief executive of a State to create an exemption from certain requirements of Federal environmental laws for producers of agricultural commodities, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 20, 2013

Mr. Walberg introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To permit the chief executive of a State to create an exemption from certain requirements of Federal environmental laws for producers of agricultural commodities, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Flexibility to Farm Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The agricultural community of the United States serves as the economic backbone of many communities and employs millions of Americans.

(2) In recent years, one-size-fits-all policies issued by the Environmental Protection Agency have increased dramatically, requiring agricultural producers to focus on regulation compliance rather than on growing the world’s healthiest, most abundant food supply.

(3) Attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand the definition of “navigable waters” under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act expand the scope of Federal jurisdiction under that Act well beyond the intent of Congress, and would eliminate a central precept of that Act, which reserves certain waters to the exclusive jurisdiction of the States.

(4) The Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretation of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure program has attempted to regulate milk in the same manner as petroleum, requiring dairy farmers to develop oil spill prevention plans and moving far beyond common sense and the intent of the law.

(5) An increasing number of poultry and livestock operations have been forced to apply for permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System resulting from the Environmental Protection Agency’s expanding definition of what constitutes a discharge under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

(6) Duplicative and costly permitting requirements under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act will require additional National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for pesticide applications, subjecting pesticide users to unnecessary red tape and financial burdens while exposing them to the threat of unfounded litigation.

(7) The Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a program to regulate greenhouse gases as “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act, which could impose an undue burden on agricultural producers by requiring them to obtain permits to continue operations.

(8) The Federal Government should not impose further rules or regulations that are overly burdensome or cause economic hardship for the agricultural community.

SEC. 3. Unduly burdensome regulations exemption.

(a) In general.—If the chief executive of a State determines, in accordance with this section, that a requirement of a covered Federal environmental law, or a regulation thereunder, is unduly burdensome to persons in the State acting in their capacity as farmers, such requirement or regulation shall not apply to persons in the State acting in that capacity.

(b) Procedure.—Before finalizing any determination under subsection (a), the chief executive of a State shall solicit and accept public comments regarding such determination for a period of not less than 90 days.

(c) Definitions.—In this Act:

(1) COVERED FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW.—The term “covered Federal environmental law” means—

(A) the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), insofar as such Act applies to emissions of air pollutants other than emissions resulting from the combustion of any fossil fuel; and

(B) the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).

(2) FARMER.—The term “farmer” means—

(A) a producer, as that term is defined in—

(i) section 1001 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 8702);

(ii) section 1506(a) of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 8773(a)); and

(iii) section 212 of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1635a); and

(B) a producer of a specialty crop, as that term is defined in section 3 of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note; Public Law 108–465).

(3) STATE.—The term “State” means any of the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States.