Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 40 other agricultural organizations have sent a letter to Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee leaders expressing support for regulatory reforms included in a House-passed bill. Regulatory reform is a top priority for Farm Bureau members. Paul Schlegel, AFBF director of environment and energy policy, says the letter was sent to the Committee’s chairman, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, and ranking member Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
Schlegel: It was sent in response to other correspondence they’d received which we felt mischaracterized H.R. 5--that was a bill that had passed the House. There are a number of provisions in that legislation that we support and we did not want members swayed by what we felt were misrepresentations of the legislation.
Clements: The legislation would make reforms to the rulemaking process. Schlegel says accusations that the legislation would interfere with implementing the Food Safety and Modernization Act are not true.
Schlegel: We disagree with that very strongly, and one of the ironies is that while farmers and ranchers have real problems with the way the rulemaking process has functioned, the way FDA went about its regulatory efforts on their food safety and modernization frankly have gotten very high marks from lots of people, including Farm Bureau.
Clements: Schlegel points to the Waters of the U.S. rulemaking process as a reason for making changes to the rulemaking process.
Schlegel: That rulemaking process was an example of how things are not supposed to happen. The agency is faithful to congressional intent, if it’s faithful to Supreme Court rulings, if it looks at the science objectivity, that’s what you want an agency to do when they’re undertaking a rulemaking. In this case, they didn’t. So, we want to institutionalize reforms so we don’t have that sort of a thing again.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF