Cotton industry concerns with regulatory issues

Cotton industry concerns with regulatory issues

Waters of the U.S. rule. GMO labeling. Pesticide permits. Fuel-storing regulations on the farm.

Regulatory issues continue to be a focus for cotton industry leaders. Many were discussed by Reece Langley, National Cotton Council vice president, Washington Operations, at the mid-August ACP-Cotton Foundation joint meeting in New Orleans.

On the list:

Waters of the U.S.: “This is now a final rule scheduled to go into effect around the end (of August). There have been multiple lawsuits filed in states trying to prevent EPA from moving forward.

“It’s possible that on the court side of things, we could see an injunction issued to prevent EPA from implementing the rule.

“There are some things pending in Congress. There’s legislation that would require the EPA and Corps of Engineers to completely pull the rule back and start over. There are also policy riders that have been added to some appropriations bills that would prevent EPA from being able to enforce or implement the rule. None of that has gotten through the complete legislative process and even if it did it’s unlikely it would be signed into law by President Obama.”


On Aug. 27, North Dakota Judge Ralph Erickson agreed to a preliminary injunction sought by 13 states suing to block the WOTUS rule saying it is “exceptionally expansive.”

The judge’s ruling came less than a day prior to WOTUS taking effect.

The 13 states that will be spared the WOTUS rule, at least temporarily, include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

GMO labeling and federal preemption: “If a company wants to label a product as containing GMO, there would be a federal process set up between the FDA and USDA. That would determine if (the company) could do it.

“A bill passed the House in July that would set up federal preemption. We expect the Senate to take up that bill, or something similar, sometime this fall.”

Pesticide permitting: “This has to do with regulations that come in under the Clean Water Act. Basically, it requires duplicate permits for the application of pesticides both under FIFRA and, now, the NPDES permitting process.

“Both the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction have passed bills to address this. But we think it’s pretty unlikely the bill will move through the full Senate because of opposition from a number of Democratic members.”

Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures: “The SPCC regulation has been around for a number of years. It was a proposed rule from the EPA that deals with requirements regarding on-farm fuel storage tanks.

“There was a farm bill provision that required the EPA and USDA to do a study on this. They’ve completed that and are moving forward with implementing the regulation. However, recently there was a bill introduced in the House by Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford that would lessen some of the EPA (requirements) around fuel storage tanks.”

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