Quantcast
Animals
Disco-Dan / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

'Sick Joke': House Agriculture Committee Advances Farm Bill Attacking Environment, Endangered Species

The House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 2, the 2018 Farm Bill, Wednesday on a party-line basis. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), includes dozens of poison-pill riders that would gut fundamental environmental safeguards.

Most significantly it would completely exempt the use of pesticides from the Endangered Species Act, effectively dooming hundreds of endangered species to extinction and making it legal to kill any endangered species with a pesticide at almost any time.


"This Farm Bill is a sick joke. It gives polluters and special interests the keys to the castle, while environmental safeguards are thrown in the ditch," said Brett Hartl of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Farmers don't want to poison our waters, kill our wildlife, and reduce our national forests to clearcuts. This is another low for this Congress, which is already the most anti-conservation in history."

The next step for this legislation is consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives in the following weeks.

In addition to the broadest attack on the Endangered Species Act in 40 years, the legislation weakens Clean Water Act protections from pesticides and includes a sweeping forestry title that would gut protections for forests and eliminate many safeguards within the National Environmental Policy Act.

The bill's attacks on the environment include the following provisions:

  • Section 9111: Completely exempts the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the requirements of the Endangered Species Act allowing the agency to ignore impacts of toxic pesticides on endangered wildlife.
  • Section 9118: Eliminates all protections under the Clean Water Act when toxic pesticides are sprayed directly into rivers and streams.
  • Section 8303: Guts the consultation process required by Endangered Species Act on national forests by allowing the U.S. Forest Service to rubber-stamp project approvals without consulting with expert wildlife scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about whether a project would put endangered species in jeopardy of extinction.
  • Section 8107: Doubles the allowed acreage for "categorical exclusions" under the National Environmental Policy Act from 3,000 to 6,000 acres per project, allowing the Forest Service to approve clearcuts under the guise of controlling insects and disease outbreaks in national forests.
  • Section 8311-8321: Eliminates public engagement, environmental review of most Forest Service logging projects by creating 10 new categorical exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act for projects up to 6,000 acres in size.
  • Section 8503: Guts the "extraordinary circumstances" protections under the National Environmental Policy Act, allowing the Forest Service to approve destructive projects without further review even if sensitive species are present or the project is within a wilderness area.

"This farm bill should be called the Poisoned Waters and DDT Restoration Act. If it becomes law, Americans can look forward to our water and wildlife being poisoned by pesticides for the rest of our lives," said Hartl.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
Pexels

Tackling Climate Change Requires Healing the Divide

Canadian climate change opinion is polarized, and research shows the divide is widening. The greatest predictor of people's outlook is political affiliation. This means people's climate change perceptions are being increasingly driven by divisive political agendas rather than science and concern for our collective welfare.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Westend61 / Getty Images

EcoWatch Gratitude Photo Contest: Submit Now!

EcoWatch is pleased to announce its first photo contest! Show us what in nature you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Whether you have a love for oceans, animals, or parks, we want to see your best photos that capture what you love about this planet.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Pexels

10 Chefs Bringing Forgotten Grains Back to Life

Millets are a staple crop for tens of millions of people throughout Asia and Africa. Known as Smart Food, millets are gluten-free, and an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron, zinc and dietary fiber. They can also be a better choice for farmers and the planet, requiring 30 percent less water than maize, 70 percent less water than rice, and can be grown with fewer expensive inputs, demanding little or no fertilizers and pesticides.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Háifoss waterfall is situated near the volcano Hekla in the south of Iceland. FEBRUARY / Getty Images

The Essential Guide to Eco-Friendly Travel

By Meredith Rosenberg

Between gas-guzzling flights, high-pollution cruise ships and energy-consuming hotels, travel takes a huge toll on the environment. Whether for business or vacation, for many people it's not realistic to simply stop traveling. So what's the solution? There are actually numerous ways to become more eco-conscious while traveling, which can be implemented with these expert tips.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Freder / E+ / Getty Images

Surprising Study: Orangutans Are Only Non-Human Primates Who Can 'Talk' About the Past

We already know that orangutans are some of the smartest land animals on Earth. Now, researchers have found evidence that these amazing apes can communicate about past events—the first time this trait has been observed in a non-human primate.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances revealed that when wild Sumatran orangutan mothers spotted a predator, they suppressed their alarm calls to others until the threat was no longer there.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Suicide rates are highest for males in construction and extraction; females in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, the CDC found. Michelllaurence / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

CDC: Suicide Rate Among U.S. Workers Increasing

From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among American workers has increased 34 percent, up 12.9 per 100,000 working persons to 17.3, according to a worrisome new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Workers with the highest suicide rates have construction, mining and drilling jobs, the U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
PG&E received a maximum sentence for the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion. Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Report: 90% of Pipeline Blasts Draw No Financial Penalties

A striking report has revealed that 90 percent of the 137 interstate pipeline fires or explosions since 2010 have drawn no financial penalties for the companies responsible.

The article from E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan underscores the federal Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) weak authority over the fossil fuel industry for these disasters.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Nevada Test and Training Range. U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum

U.S. Navy Proposes Massive Land Grab to Test Bombs

Friday the U.S. Navy released details of a plan to seize more than 600,000 acres of public land in central Nevada to expand a bombing range. The land under threat includes rich habitat for mule deer, important desert springs and nesting sites for raptors like golden eagles.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!