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Friends of the Earth USA

05/20/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/20/2024 02:38

House Republican Farm Bill a Massive Handout to Big Ag, Theft of State and Local Authority

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House Republican Farm Bill a Massive Handout to Big Ag, Theft of State and Local Authority

May 20, 2024

WASHINGTON - After months of delay, House Republicans released the full text for their Farm Bill proposal. The bill slashes nutrition programs and climate-focused conservation funding in order to boost chemical-intensive commodity crop production. It includes language that would severely hamper state and local governments' ability to protect people, pollinators and the environment from toxic pesticides. Last year, more than 100 locally elected officials sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them not to include preemption of state and local pesticide authorities in the Farm Bill.

The GOP Farm Bill also includes a slimmed down version of the EATS Act, which is opposed by 200 Members of Congress and more than 150 organizations. The EATS Act could wipe out many existing states' environmental, health and safety laws related to agriculture, effectively overturning a Supreme Court ruling to uphold California's Proposition 12, which bans extreme forms of animal confinement.

The House Agriculture Committee will mark up the text on Thursday, May 23.

In response, Friends of the Earth's Program Manager for Animal Agriculture Policy, Molly Armus, issued the following statement:

Once again, Republicans are working to take away our right to protect our communities and deepen Big Ag's stranglehold on our food system with provisions to roll back decades of progress on pesticide regulations.

By including language that mirrors the EATS Act, Republicans are undermining consumer, public health and animal welfare protections and limiting states' ability to make decisions on agricultural practices. Senate Democrats must counterbalance this handout to industrial agriculture by shifting subsidies and other support away from factory farming, manure biogas and pesticide-intensive commodities toward diversified, regenerative, and climate-friendly farming systems.

Friends of the Earth recently published a report, Biogas or Bull****?: The False Promise of Manure Biogas as a Methane Solution, that documents ways in which manure biogas production undermines environmental justice and exacerbates industry consolidation - for methane reduction benefits that are overstated by the U.S. government, inadequately tracked, and insufficient to meet global methane targets.

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