Weekly News Roundup- May 17, 2013

House Farm Bill Needs Critical Improvements for Soil, Water and Wildlife

May 16– Late last evening, the House Committee on Agriculture passed its version of the 2013 farm bill.

Cuontry road with silo

“We commend Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) for crafting a bipartisan reauthorization of the farm bill,” said Julie Sibbing, director of Agriculture and Forestry Programs, National Wildlife Federation. “While we appreciate the difficult task of drafting a bill to achieve deficit reductions, the committee missed important opportunities to save taxpayer dollars through commonsense conservation measures for soil, water and wildlife.”

Notably absent in the House Committee bill was a provision included in the Senate committee bill that would link soil and wetlands protection to crop insurance premium subsidies. Major agricultural and conservation groups recently joined with Senate lawmakers to support reasonable soil and wetland protection requirements crafted to work better for producers.

NWF: McCarthy Deserves Clean Vote

May 16– Gina McCarthy’s nomination as Environmental Protection Agency administrator now moves to the full Senate after the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today approved her. Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:

“Gina McCarthy has already been approved once by the Senate and since then has only strengthened her record as a non-partisan voice for sensible reductions in pollution to protect America’s wildlife, clean air and water, and public health. The full Senate should give her a clean vote as soon as possible. We’ve already wasted enough time watching polluter allies play political games with her confirmation process.

Shortsighted Senate Water Bill Will Damage Rivers and Wildlife, Fleece Taxpayers

May 15–  Today, the Senate voted 83-14 to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2013, S.601.

Deer in flooded Mississippi River

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said in response:

“This shortsighted bill will leave Americans at greater risk of flooding, damage our rivers and wildlife, and fleece taxpayers. Apparently, all it takes is a classic Washington pig roast to break the gridlock in the Senate.

It would cost an estimated $60 billion to build all the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects currently on the books. Today, the Senate has added to the backlog while undermining the process that identifies which projects provide real value. Time and time again, commonsense environmental reviews have shed light on expensive, damaging proposals that are not in our national interest.The Water Resources Development Act is vital for helping to restore national treasures like the Everglades and the Mississippi River Delta. Unfortunately, language in this bill undermines the bedrock environmental principle that the federal government should look before it leaps. For example, this bill will allow the Army Corps to fine other federal agencies up to $20,000 a week if they aren’t able to meet the new rushed deadlines for environmental review.”

  • Read more about the Water Resources Development Act and how it effects wildlife.

National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There Movement Announces Partnership With The American Camp Association

May 14– NWF  is pleased to announce a new partnership with the American Camp Association (ACA). Through this partnership, NWF and ACA will promote the importance of reconnecting families with the outdoors, particularly through Be Out There’s Great American Backyard Campout, which encourages families across the nation to gather outdoors and camp on June 22, 2013.

“NWF and ACA are committed to getting millions more children to play outdoors on a regular basis. This relationship is a win for American kids, because together we will help families raise healthier and happier children who have a lifelong commitment to protecting wildlife and the natural world,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, vice president of Be Out There at NWF. “Through this new partnership, ACA will help NWF’s Be Out There movement share resources that inspire parents to make nature a part of their family’s everyday lives.”

Senate Farm Bill Protects Soil, Water, Wildlife

May 14-The National Wildlife Federation commends Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) for their leadership in crafting and moving out of committee a strong, bipartisan reauthorization of the farm bill.

Grazing management

“The Senate farm bill includes an historic agreement between agriculture and conservation organizations to ensure that basic soil and wetland protection requirements were extended to apply to crop insurance premium subsidies,” said Julie Sibbing, director of Agriculture and Forestry Programs, National Wildlife Federation.

“NWF thanks the Committee members for their support of the agreement, especially Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who successfully offered an amendment to attach these provisions to crop insurance on the Senate floor last year and who stood up for the agreement in committee today.”

  • Take action and ensure that worthy Farm Bill conservation programs are reauthorized at appropriate levels, structured to achieve maximum wildlife and environmental benefits, and fully funded during the annual appropriations process.

Senate Water Bill Expensive, Damaging

May 13– On Monday, spokespeople representing three very different backgrounds and perspectives offered up their opinions of the Water Resources Development Act (S.601).


 And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:

For more visit www.nwf.org/news