Corn Growers hope for ‘real world’ regulations

Source: By Bill Tiedje, Iowa Farmer Today • Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Jennifer Myers is the National Corn Growers Association communications manager.

IFT: What are the top priorities for regulatory reform that NCGA would like to see on behalf of its farmer members?

MYERS: One of our top priorities for the next two years is to work with the Trump administration to reduce regulatory burdens. We need to make government work better for everyone, including farmers.

While there are many regulations our members would like to see removed or reformed, two of the most important involve ethanol and WOTUS.

• RVP Waiver: One of NCGA’s top regulatory priorities for several years now has been to correct an obscure EPA regulation that prevents fuel retailers from being able to offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) year-round.

Changing this regulation would be common-sense regulatory relief and bring regulations up to date with today’s fuel options. Year-round access to E15 is a win for consumers and farmers alike — more choices at the pump, stronger rural economies and cleaner air.

• WOTUS: NCGA has long sought clarity and certainty for the nation’s corn farmers on their responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. The 2015 WOTUS rule was far from clear and represented a significant and unlawful expansion of federal jurisdiction.

We support President Trump’s executive action to withdraw the rule and replace it with a new rule that ensures farmers can continue to farm, while still protecting the land and water features in and around their farms.

• Endangered Species Act: Pesticides are essential to increasing productivity and enhancing the sustainability of corn farming.

To ensure access to these current and future products, increased harmonization of the requirements of ESA and FIFRA must be achieved. NCGA supports implementation of the existing counterpart regulations to make ESA consultations more focused on protecting species, more timely and less wasteful of limited agency resources.

IFT: How have the issues surrounding these regulatory reforms, in terms of policies and practices, changed over time?

MYERS: The statute governing rulemaking (the Administrative Procedures Act) has not changed in 70 years. Agriculture has changed a lot in that time, but the rulemaking process has not.

Regulatory agencies increasingly exercise legislative functions, and in some cases are also encroaching on judicial functions. We need to correct that imbalance.

IFT: Will regulatory reform mean stopping new regulatory actions like the Waters of the United States rule from being implemented or does NCGA hope to reform existing regulation as well?

MYERS: Many farmers feel the regulatory process doesn’t always consider the impacts on them — costs, compliance burden, common sense — and want to have a regulatory process that makes sense and takes into account how they operate their farms in the real world and the costs that will get passed onto them.

We need a regulatory process that is more timely, transparent and cost-effective.

There are a certain number of government regulations that have to be issued. For example, the EPA has to go through a regulatory process every year on the Renewable Fuel Standard to issue the volume requirements. Regulatory reform needs to ensure we can continue to get timely and effective regulations issued and make sure agencies use proper direction when getting into new areas of regulation.

IFT: How will NCGA define success in regulatory reform?

MYERS: Success is regulatory reform that is open, transparent and grounded in facts. It’s also respectful of our system of government, with federal agencies implementing laws as Congress intended and adhering to the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.

Every American has a vested interest in our regulatory process. In the field of environmental law, all affected stakeholders — including farmers, businesses large and small, taxpayers, consumers, scientists and researchers, lawmakers and state and federal regulators — benefit from a process that is fair, transparent and provides clarity and certainty to those affected.