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WASHINGTON, D.C. – As bicameral conferees work to reconcile Senate- and House-passed versions of the Farm Bill, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee joined Ben Cardin (D-Md.), senior member of EPW, and 36 colleagues in a letter urging conferees to oppose controversial anti-environment policy riders. The current Farm Bill expires on October 1, 2018.

“The Senate Farm Bill is the product of thoughtful, bipartisan negotiations, which resulted in a historic vote in favor of the bill’s passage,” the senators wrote. “Unfortunately, the House Farm Bill contains a number of damaging anti-environment provisions that now make meeting the upcoming reauthorization deadline exceedingly difficult…Avoiding controversial provisions that erode landmark environmental laws could pave the way to an on-time and widely supported reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Including environmental riders in the conference committee’s deliberations will undoubtedly yield a partisan and protracted process that will prolong uncertainty for stakeholders and may ultimately produce a conference report that lacks the requisite votes for passage.”

In addition to Cardin and Carper, the letter was signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-N.H.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

A PDF copy of the letter can be found HERE, and the full text of the letter is below:

 

August 23, 2018

  The Honorable Pat Roberts                                                         The Honorable Debbie Stabenow

Chairman                                                                                     Ranking Member

Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry                    Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

U.S. Senate                                                                                  U.S. Senate

328A Russell Senate Office Building                                         328A Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-6000                                                      Washington, DC 20510-6000

Dear Farm Bill Conferee:

We are Senators who voted in favor of the Senate Farm Bill, which passed our chamber in a bipartisan vote of 86-11. As you begin your conference committee discussions to reconcile the Senate Farm Bill with the House-passed Farm Bill, we write to oppose environmental riders.

Avoiding controversial provisions that erode landmark environmental laws could pave the way to an on-time and widely supported reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Including environmental riders in the conference committee’s deliberations will undoubtedly yield a partisan and protracted process that will prolong uncertainty for stakeholders and may ultimately produce a conference report that lacks the requisite votes for passage.

The Senate Farm Bill is the product of thoughtful, bipartisan negotiations, which resulted in a historic vote in favor of the bill’s passage. We hope the President can sign a Farm Bill conference report into law before the current legislation expires on October 1. Unfortunately, the House Farm Bill contains a number of damaging anti-environment provisions that now make meeting the upcoming reauthorization deadline exceedingly difficult. These harmful riders, spread throughout the Forestry, Horticulture, and Miscellaneous titles of the House bill, subjected the legislation to unnecessary opposition on the House floor and now complicates the bipartisan cooperation needed to pass a final conference report.

Again, we write to express our strong opposition to gutting bedrock U.S. environmental and public health protections with provisions that threaten our air, water, lands, and wildlife. We urge you to bring forward a reconciled 2018 Farm Bill that is free of ideological distractions.

 

Sincerely,

 

cc:       The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader                              

The Honorable John Boozman, Senate Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable John Hoeven, Senate Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Joni K. Ernst, Senate Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Senate Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Sherrod Brown, Senate Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Heidi Heitkamp, Senate Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable K. Michael Conaway, Chairman, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Glenn Thompson, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Frank D. Lucas, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Mike Rogers, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Austin Scott, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Rick Crawford, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Vicky Hartzler, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Rodney Davis, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Ted Yoho, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable David Rouzer, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Roger Marshall, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Jodey Arrington, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Collin C. Peterson, Ranking Member, House Agriculture Committee  Conferee
The Honorable David Scott, House Agriculture Committee Conferee
The Honorable Jim Costa, House Agriculture Committee Conferee
The Honorable Timothy J. Walz, House Agriculture Committee Conferee
The Honorable Marcia L. Fudge, House Agriculture Committee Conferee
The Honorable Jim McGovern, House Agriculture Committee Conferee
The Honorable Filemon Vela, House Agriculture Committee Conferee
The Honorable Michelle Lujan Grisham, House Agriculture Committee Conferee
The Honorable Ann Kuster, House Agriculture Committee Conferee
The Honorable Tom O’Halleran, House Agriculture Committee Conferee

The Honorable Virginia Foxx, Chair, House Education and Workforce Committee Conferee

The Honorable Rick W. Allen, House Education and Workforce Committee Conferee

The Honorable Alma S. Adams, House Education and Workforce Committee Conferee

The Honorable John Shimkus, House Energy and Commerce Committee Conferee

The Honorable Kevin Cramer, House Energy and Commerce Committee Conferee

The Honorable Paul Tonko, House Energy and Commerce Committee Conferee

The Honorable Jeb Hensarling, Chairman, House Financial Services Committee Conferee

The Honorable Sean P. Duffy, House Financial Services Committee Conferee

The Honorable Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, House Financial Services Committee Conferee

The Honorable Ed Royce, Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee Conferee

The Honorable Steve Chabot, House Foreign Affairs Committee Conferee

The Honorable Eliot Engel, Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee Conferee

The Honorable Mark Walker, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Conferee

The Honorable James Comer, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Conferee

The Honorable Stacey E. Plaskett, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Conferee

The Honorable Rob Bishop, Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee Conferee

The Honorable Bruce Westerman, House Natural Resources Committee Conferee

The Honorable Raúl Grijalva, Ranking Member, House Natural Resources Committee Conferee

The Honorable Ralph Lee Abraham, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee  Conferee
The Honorable Neal P. Dunn, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee  Conferee
The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson, House Science, Space and Technology  Committee Conferee      
The Honorable Jeff Denham, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee  Conferee
The Honorable Bob Gibbs, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Conferee
The Honorable Cheri Bustos, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee  Conferee

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