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Nebraska Public Media investigates a polluted community’s fight for its future

LINCOLN, Neb. — An investigative radio documentary produced by Nebraska Public Media News reveals how residents of one community are putting up a big fight to save their tiny village from pollution. “The Smell of Money: Mead, Nebraska’s Fight for Its Future” airs on radio at 7 p.m. CT, Wednesday, Aug. 4 and 9 a.m. CT, Friday, Aug. 6.

The months-long investigation for the radio program includes a comprehensive look at the history of an ethanol plant in Mead, Neb. It begins with a company’s promise for innovation and continues with the story of an environmental disaster that could have long-term implications. The hour-long Nebraska Public Media News report also uncovers new information regarding what state officials knew about the process AltEn was using for ethanol production.

When the AltEn plant opened in Mead in 2015, it seemed like a new chapter for the town’s shuttered ethanol plant. Located 35 miles west of Omaha, Mead is home to just over 600 residents and community leaders who wanted to revitalize their small town.

Ethanol is usually manufactured using field corn, but AltEn presented another idea: using leftover seed corn. It was plentiful and cheap, but treated with pesticides that contaminated AltEn’s waste and created a smell so foul that residents feared it was making them sick. At the time, few suspected their community would effectively become a landfill for most of U.S. agriculture’s surplus seed corn.

“The Smell of Money: Mead, Nebraska’s Fight for Its Future” includes perspective from area residents who worried about their own health when bees and fish started dying, and dogs got sick. And, it follows their years of complicated back-and-forth with state and environmental officials as the community searched for answers and ways to protect its health, water and future.

By using the treated seed corn, the byproduct of the ethanol created by AltEn contained a cocktail of nearly a dozen different pesticides at levels that far exceeded safety thresholds for people and animals. The company was not only storing it by the tens-of-thousands of tons on their property – it was also distributing the waste across the county for farmers to spread on their fields.

In “The Smell of Money: Mead, Nebraska’s Fight for Its Future,” Nebraska Public Media News explores the history of the AltEn plant from its beginnings until the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy ordered it to shut down on Feb. 4, 2021. Just days after closing, a 4-million-gallon waste tank at the plant split open in the middle of the night, sending toxic waste spewing miles across the countryside.

Packers say AMAs create value, producers say consolidation breaking cattle industry

Senators in the Judiciary Committee brought in Tyson and JBS representatives along with a salebarn operator, independent grocer spokesman and more to discuss the price discrepancy between a live beef animal and the value of the carcass once processed during a hearing named Beefing up Competition: Examining America’s Food Supply Chain on July 28, 2021.

Many news outlets have reported for months the $1,000 and higher profits the big four packers are earning on cattle they own most of the time for less than two weeks, meanwhile cattle producers are feeders are in most cases operating at breakeven levels or losses.

The theme from Jon Schaben of Dunlap, Iowa, who operates salebarns in that town and also in West Point Neb.; Bob Larew, the president of the National Farmers Union and also David Smith, president and CEO of Associated Wholesalers Grocers was consistent: consolidation, lack of transparency and lack of enforcement of anti-trust laws are allowing the big four packers to take advantage of producers as well as consumers, and independent grocers.

SQUEEZING OUT THE LITTLE GUYS

Smith commented on the buying power the larger retailers have over the smaller ones, which puts those stores and chains in a position to lower their prices until the small, independent stores have gone out of business, and then “increase prices at will,” he said. “I’ve seen it happen over and over again, and it’s why little towns… can only rely on dollar stores for their grocery needs. They are not healthy choices,” he said.

“We have a choice, we can choose to end these unfair schemes. We can choose to enforce anti-trust laws that ensure competition throughout the food chain.”

Consolidation at the retail level has encouraged consolidation upstream, he said. “Meatpacking is a stark example. Suppliers respond to retail consolidation by consolidating rapidly themselves, in hopes that getting bigger will allow them to gain leverage against that domination… the results are predictable. Farmers and ranchers struggle to get fair prices as fewer firms compete for the product. Consolidated supply chains are more vulnerable to disruption.”

LABOR EXPENSE

The JBS President of USA Fed Beef, Tim Schellpeper, said the most significant challenge his company faces is labor availability, he said they pay their workers about $20 per hour starting wage, and an average across the company of $22 per hour.

“It is JBS’s mission to ensure the best products and service for our customers, a relationship of trust with our suppliers, profitability for our shareholders and the opportunity for a better future for all of our team members,” he said.

Schellpepper testified to the investments they have made in emission reduction — $1billion, along with $100 invested into “on farm research and development.”

He said the cattle and beef markets are cyclical and that producers benefit from AMAs because, prior to the industry-wide practice of forward contracting and grid marketing, producers were not compensated for better quality cattle.

Shane Miller who represented Tyson said the spread between boxed beef and live cattle prices is simply a function of supply and demand. “Multiple unprecedented market shocks including the pandemic and severe weather conditions led to an unexpected and drastic drop in processors’ ability to operate at capacity. This led to an oversupply of live cattle and an undersupply of beef all while demand for beef products was at an all time high, so it should not surprise any of us that the price for cattle fell while the price for beef rose. While Tyson does not and cannot control market forces, our success depends on the entire beef supply chain being properly incentivized to meet America’s demand for higher quality beef.”

Miller said that USDA research has found that AMAs allow for the creation or capture of greater value. Later, in response to a senator’s question, he said that Tyson is more than willing to work with any feeder who wants to contract their cattle with an AMA.

Schaben, representing the 8,000 member Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, who spoke first, refuted much of what the packer spokesmen said.

He said that a severe lack of cash trade, limited price discovery and an imbalance in leverage between those who raise cattle and those who process them is what has brought the cattle industry to a place of unprofitability.

“It is imperative that we uplift the concerns of those in the production sector. The beef supply chain begins with and relies on thousands of cattle producers,” he said.

BLACK SWAN EVENTS

“We’ve heard it all the way up today about those black swan events. I hear about how they are responsible for why we are probably here today, and I don’t think in the context of what they are that that’s actually factual. I think the black swan events were a great example of what’s broken about the marketing chain in live cattle and they show some of the things that need to be changed within this industry. I think it’s unfair to say they are causing the problems when what we have is this great big discrepancy between what our cattle are worth live when we sell them and what they end up with when we sell them as retail beef.”

He went on to point out that in 2015, 51.5 percent of the consumer dollar spent on beef was returned to the producer, while by 2020 that had dropped to 37 percent.

“Most recently we have seen live values of cattle in the $1,500 to $1,700 range but the carcass values when they are processed are in the $2,500 to $2,700 dollar range. This is a $1,000 difference.

“If we process more than half a million head of cattle per week, in my simple math, that is half a billion dollars per week that is eroded out of our rural economy. As we all look for ways to stimulate our rural economy, it looks like if we can bring a functioning cattle market back and get that spread narrowed down, that’s the way we can infuse more cash into our rural sector,” said Schaben.

Swine flu found in Dominican Republic pigs

The Agriculture Department’s Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory has confirmed African swine fever in pigs from the Dominican Republic.

“USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has numerous interlocking safeguards in place to prevent ASF from entering the United States,” a news release said.

“Pork and pork products from the Dominican Republic are currently prohibited entry as a result of existing classical swine fever restrictions. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection is increasing inspections of flights from the Dominican Republic to ensure travelers do not bring prohibited products to the United States. CBP will also be ensuring that garbage from these airplanes are properly disposed of to prevent the transmission of ASF.”

Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council, said, “We are thankful for steps taken by the USDA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including strengthened border inspection and the implementation of an active surveillance program designed to quickly detect and eradicate ASF. These measures are particularly important now that ASF has been detected in the Western hemisphere for the first time in approximately 40 years.”

NPPC noted, “Vacation and other travelers to the Dominican Republic should know that it is illegal to transport specialty meat products or other agriculture products from the DR to the United States.”

State vet confirms first equine West Nile Virus case of 2021

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — A horse residing in Weld County has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus, marking Colorado’s first confirmed equine WNV case in 2021. The horse, which had not been vaccinated against WNV, developed acute neurological signs on July 24, 2021, and is currently recovering.

“Vaccines have shown to be an effective prevention tool for West Nile Virus in horses and horse owners should work with their veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for their horses,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. “West Nile Virus is one of the AAEP core vaccinations for horses, along with others such as rabies, tetanus, and eastern and western encephalomyelitis. All of these vaccines are important to protect the health of Colorado’s equine herds.”

Horses vaccinated for WNV in past years will need an annual booster. If a horse has not been vaccinated in previous years, it will need the two-shot vaccination series. Visit the AAEP website for a comprehensive list of vaccination recommendations.

In addition to vaccinations, horse owners should also work diligently to reduce mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas where horses are located. Recommendations include removing stagnant water sources,using mosquito repellents, and keeping animals inside during the bugs’ feeding times, typically early in the morning and evening.

Any time a horse displays clinical signs consistent with neurologic disease, a complete veterinary examination is warranted. All infectious or contagious equine neurologic diseases are reportable to the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office at (303) 869-9130. A chart of reportable animal diseases in Colorado can be found on the CDA website.

WNV is a viral disease that cycles between wild birds and mosquitoes, and can sometimes affect other species, like people and horses, as dead-end hosts. Clinical cases in horses are typically characterized by anorexia, depression, and neurological signs, which may include ataxia, weakness or paralysis of one or more limbs, teeth grinding, aimless wandering, convulsions and/or circling. For information on human WNV symptoms and prevention see West Nile Virus and your health | Department of Public Health & Environment.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has not reported any human cases of WNV to date in 2021. However, mosquito pools from Weld, Larimer and Boulder counties have tested positive for WNV, as well as four raptors in Weld County and one raptor in Larimer County. The WNV positive animals and mosquito pools are a reminder that WNV is actively circulating in Colorado and poses a risk to people. CDPHE has published data on human West Nile cases, as well as positive mosquito pools, available on the CDPHE WNV website.

Estimated crop water use

The estimated crop water use for Nebraska Panhandle crops for the previous week and the upcoming week is shown in this table. It is based on data gathered by and calculations made by Nebraska Extension personnel. Crop water use will vary across the Panhandle due to variation in temperature and precipitation events. Crop water use will assist growers with irrigation scheduling and efficient water use.

Angus members achieve 1 million genotypes

Angus Genetics Inc., a subsidiary of the American Angus Association, has reached their 1 millionth mark in Angus genotypes. This was a monumental accomplishment for the Angus breed, said Kelli Retallick-Riley, president of AGI.

“It has taken just a little over a decade for Angus breeders to reach this impressive milestone,” said Retallick-Riley. “This is a testament to the pioneer mindset Angus breeders have always hung their hats on. The early adoption of genomic technology has led Angus to this point and will lend to future tools designed specifically for users of registered Angus genetics.”

AGI began including genomics in the genetic evaluation in 2010 with the idea of using this technology to enhance accuracy, evaluate for traits at earlier ages and predict difficult-to-measure traits for Angus breeders. In addition to its large genotype database, the American Angus Association is home to the largest beef cattle breed phenotype database in the world. With that knowledge, the pace of adoption of genomic technology has increased.

In the first four years of collecting genomic samples, AGI hit their first milestone of collecting 100,000 genotypes. In 2018, AGI had another breakthrough of accumulating half a million genotypes. While it took eight years to collect the first 500,000 genotypes, it only took three years to collect the next half of a million. Currently, around 3,000 genotypes enter the evaluation each week.

As for the future of genomic testing at AGI, the company has hopes it can continue to make significant advancements to further enhance the beef cattle industry economically. With this amount of data in hand, AGI is looking at ways to leverage this database to create novel solutions to real-world problems. Retallick-Riley said, Angus producers should be excited about what the future holds.

“The value of genomics is here,” said Retallick-Riley. “While we continue to optimize these solutions to ensure accurate genetic tools, I have no doubt that the next 10 years with genomics will only continue to drive genetic progress and profitability for our independently owned farming and ranching families.”

Conserving prime hay ground as well as Colorado’s elk and deer

From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.

“John Deere loves us,” he jokes, gesturing at the lineup of green machines parked outside of what he and his wife, Sheryl, call the ‘Home Ranch’ along the banks of the White River.

John grew up ranching in Meeker with his sister and two brothers. “As I got older, I was the hay man in the family, because I liked working with the equipment more than the livestock.”

When he was 20, John bought a hay business from a neighbor, and he and Sheryl have grown the business six-fold. Their daughter, Makaila, who just turned 30, still comes home for a few weeks each summer to load trucks and run equipment “in the heat of the hay battle,” John said.

The family sells 18,000 to 24,000 tons of hay per year, mainly to ranchers around Meeker. The Etcharts also ship 100,000 small bales each year to eastern states and fulfill custom contracts on other ranchers’ property around western Colorado.

The Etchart hay systems. Photo courtesy John and Sheryl Etchart

In the early 1990s, John and Sheryl bought the Strawberry Ranch — not far from the Home Ranch — from John’s and Doug’s grandfather and later acquired an adjoining property in 2017. The Etcharts run cattle on the Strawberry Ranch, a 2,462-acre spread of sagebrush country that boasts abundant big game, like elk and deer.

PRIME RANGELAND

Thanks to their forward-thinking stewardship, this prime rangeland will stay a working ranch forever, rather than being chopped up into a subdivision.

“Once a ranch gets broken into chunks, the land doesn’t get managed well anymore,” John said. “Weeds come in and wildlife have more fences to cross.”

In 2021, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust helped the Etcharts and his older brother, Doug, conserve the Strawberry Ranch with an easement funded in part by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Agricultural Land Easement program. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy contributed to protect this beautiful ranch for future generations. The CCALT also helped the Etcharts conserve their 290-acre Home Ranch with an easement in 2014.

“We graze the ranch lightly with cows to save the rest for wildlife,” John said.

Strawberry Ranch also provides valuable winter habitat and migration pathways for Colorado’s famous deer and elk herds. In addition, its sagebrush uplands and native grasses are important habitat for greater sage-grouse, providing a linkage between two populations of this at-risk upland bird.

John and Sheryl have partnered with the USDA on other farm bill-funded conservation projects. Through the Conservation Reserve Program, they re-planted 80 percent of the ranch’s pastures with a diverse mix of plants that are better forage for wildlife and livestock. They also participate in the NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program to rotate livestock grazing and rest pastures. And they restored a 1,100-foot long stretch of eroding riverbank and improved riparian habitat on the Home Ranch with help from the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

River restoration erosion control on the Home Ranch. Photo courtesy John and Sheryl Etchart

“I’ve darn sure utilized the free technical support offered by NRCS,” John said. “The biggest help is getting their engineering services.”

Their neighbors to the north also put a conservation easement on their ranch, protecting 2,226 acres. Keeping adjoining land intact helps boost wildlife populations — and that benefits the Etchart’s other business, which is guiding hunters in search of deer and elk each fall.

An elk herd roams on the Strawberry Ranch. Photo courtesy John and Sheryl Etchart

“It’s a beautiful huntin’ place because it’s phenomenal big game habitat,” said John, who also loves to hunt and fish with Sheryl.

Molly Fales, director of transactions at CCALT helped the Etcharts with their easement. She said that Meeker is still an agricultural community where conservation investments can have a big, positive impact.

A lot of that success comes down to landowners like John and Sheryl, said Fales, who talk to their neighbors daily. “They see that the easement is working out well for the Etcharts and that no one’s out there telling them how to run the ranch.”

John agreed. “Financially, the easement helped us out a bunch — it’s allowed us to stay several steps ahead. My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier!”

–Randall is a freelance writer based in Missoula, Mont.

Lamb scores retail sales during COVID

Consumer demand for lamb increased considerably during 2020. While all meat sales grew in 2020 as more meals were consumed at home, lamb sales grew at a larger percentage than total meat sales overall. That’s the word from the latest US Retail Sales Report commissioned by the American Lamb Board. The 2021 Q1 report assesses the U.S. lamb market by comparing four-week, 12-week, and 52-week intervals to one year prior 2020 saw a 24.7 % increase in lamb dollar sales from 2019 and a 17.7% increase in pounds sold from 2019. Sales of rack exploded in Q3 and Q4 of 2020. Compared to 2019, rack sales increased 52.8% in terms of pounds sold. Sales of ground lamb also saw considerable growth — ground lamb saw a 23.7% increase in volume sales.

As a region, California has seen the most growth since 2019 in terms of both dollar sales (30.6% increase) and pounds sold (29.6% increase). Nonetheless, the Northeast remains the highest selling region by a significant margin — accounting for 29% of all lamb sales in the U.S.

Lamb retail sales remained strong into the first quarter of 2021. Sales of lamb in Q1 outperformed the same 12 weeks a year ago by a sizable margin: dollar sales increased 19.8 % and volume sales increased 11.8%. Rack sales grew significantly during Q1 (no holidays), increasing by 53.8% in volume sales. All cuts of lamb other than loin chops saw double digit growth in dollar sales during Q1 2021 versus a year ago. Loin chops saw only a 5.4% increase and its market share of total sales dropped from 31% a year ago to 27% in 2021 (only two percentage points more than ribeye).

“The report clearly reflects that as consumers gained kitchen confidence during Covid, their willingness to try new products and new recipes increased,” said American Lamb Board Chairman Gwen Kitzan. Cooking and sharing meals with loved ones has become a form of entertainment for many consumers and many people will continue to prepare more meals at home even as restaurants open up,” Kitzan said. “We will continue to focus on educating new lamb consumers by sharing simple recipes, information about nutritional benefits, ease of preparation, versatility of cuts and cooking techniques, and how American lamb is raised.”

For copies of the Sales Data Report or Retail Demand Index Report for Lamb, contact Rae Villa at rae@americanlamb.com.

Husker researcher part of multi-university effort to improve ag decision making

LINCOLN, Neb. — The use of “digital twins,” virtual copies of physical objects and operations, is gaining steam across a wide range of industries. Updated constantly with real-time data, these virtual mirrors allow engineers to keep an eye on and predict traffic flow, retailers to optimize supply chains and railway operators to spot wear and tear on tracks. Researchers are even working toward digital twins of the human heart, which would let doctors diagnose, treat and monitor patients from afar.

Until now, the technology had not been widely employed in agriculture, even as the world races to secure a sustainable food supply for a population on track to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. Today, the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced a five-year, $20 million grant to establish the AI Institute for Resilient Agriculture, or AIIRA. It’s part of a $200 million federal effort to develop artificial intelligence hubs that address a variety of national needs.

DIGITAL TWINS

A collaboration of eight institutions — including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and led by Iowa State University — is launching the institute with the aim of deploying digital twins, powered by advances in artificial intelligence, throughout the agricultural space.

“In the tradition of USDA-NIFA investments, these new institutes leverage the scientific power of U.S. land-grant universities informed by close partnerships with farmers, producers, educators and innovators to provide sustainable crop production solutions and address these pressing societal challenges,” said Carrie Castille, USDA-NIFA director. “These innovation centers will speed our ability to meet the critical needs in the future agricultural workforce, providing equitable and fair market access, increasing nutrition security and providing tools for climate-smart agriculture.”

AIIRA was one of 11 NSF-led AI institutes announced July 29, which join seven that were launched in August 2020.

RESEARCH TEAM

The AIIRA research team, which includes Husker plant geneticist James Schnable, believes the technology may help ramp up food production by enabling farmers to increase yields and plant breeders to strategically improve varieties. Schnable brings to the project Nebraska’s diverse geography, climate and soil — variations that are key to understanding how plants behave under different circumstances, including accelerating climate change and decreasing available cropland.

He will tap into the university’s Research and Extension Centers, which span the state from a site just outside of Lincoln to the Panhandle Research and Extension Center — located 400 miles to the west, at 2,700 feet higher in elevation and with only half of Lincoln’s precipitation — to grow, test and genetically analyze various corn and sorghum varieties during the project.

“In Nebraska, we’re able to evaluate crops under a wide range of different stressful conditions,” said Schnable, associate professor and the Charles O. Gardner Professor of Agronomy. “Only a few states have the geography to make that possible, and of those, few have made the necessary investments in facilities and people. It’s a really unique asset we have here, and it’s a big part of what I’m able to leverage to get big consortiums interested in doing research in Nebraska.”

The collaboration also includes New York University, the University of Arizona, George Mason University, the University of Missouri, the Iowa Soybean Association and Carnegie Mellon University, home to the world-class AI expertise that will power development of the digital twins. The institute also includes partners from the tech and agriculture industries, governments, commodity groups and other organizations.

DRONES AND ROBOTS

To bring digital twinning to agriculture, the researchers are capitalizing on increasingly sophisticated plant, soil and weather sensors and automated devices such as drones and robots. These technologies transmit real-time data — such as weather information, water and nitrogen measurements, and soil and topography maps — to predictive digital twins, which also incorporate data reflecting the latest understanding of plant growth and development. The team will twin both individual plants and entire farm fields.

Digital twins overcome real-world constraints on the number of experiments researchers can run on crops in the real world, where a breeder might evaluate 2,000 potential new varieties in a single environment, or an agronomist might test five levels of fertilizer application on 10 hybrids at a dozen locations, each with their own unique combination of weather and soil properties. Digital twinning circumvents that, enabling researchers and producers to simulate endless what-if scenarios and apply their findings to on-the-ground decision making.

“Creating a digital twin means building a model of how plants perceive and respond to their environment,” Schnable said. “Once we have that, we can run hundreds of thousands of different simulations where we put the digital twin of an individual corn plant or a whole field through different weather or agronomic practices, or make specific changes to the plant we know is possible to achieve through breeding. Running all these simulations lets us prioritize which combinations of plant genetics and farm management practices are likely to give the best outcomes for farmers in specific environments.”

For farmers, this could eventually translate into a decision support tool that provides actionable information. Today, farmers make decisions about which hybrid to plant, and the timing and amount of irrigation and fertilizer, based on their knowledge of the weather, their farm’s soil and previous experiences. But for farmers who may have only 40 growing seasons in their careers, big changes can be risky. Digital twins would let them test out a wider range of options on a computer, helping farmers maximize profit and minimize environmental impact.

For Nebraska, participating in the institute is an opportunity to strengthen its position as a national leader in agricultural resilience. Collaborating with global experts in AI will advance the university’s extensive work in this area and underscores Nebraska’s commitment to its Grand Challenges, which include climate resilience and sustainable food and water security.

“We’re getting to work with and build new connections with some of the world leaders in AI,” Schnable said. “Just in the process of organizing the team and writing the proposal, I’m already seeing folks develop a new excitement about the research questions and problems of agriculture and stress biology.”

Protecting landowners from government overreach

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has reintroduced the Defense of Environment and Property Act and all of us in the agriculture industry need to get behind this legislation. We also need to urge our representatives in the house and senate to back this bill.

This bill aims to prevent the federal government from imposing unreasonable restrictions on landowners.

The Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2021:

•Defines “navigable waters” as “navigable-in-fact, or permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water that form geographical features commonly known as streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes that are connected to waters that are navigable-in-fact”

•Clarifies the jurisdiction of the EPA and Corps of Engineers

•States that “ground water” is state water and not to be considered in asserting Federal jurisdiction

•Prohibits the use of a “significant nexus test”

•Prohibits the EPA and Corps of Engineers from creating new rules defining “navigable waters” or expanding or interpreting the definition of “navigable waters” unless expressly authorized by Congress.

The Biden administration announced in June that they will formally repeal the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The concern is that Biden will reintroduce the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States rule that had landowners concerned that isolated wetlands and small streams on their property would be subject to expensive rules and regulations.

So lets get busy and make sure that Sen. Paul’s legislation passes before the Biden administration and the Environmental Protection Agency reintroduce WOTUS.

To read the bill, go to https://www.paul.senate.gov/sites/default/files/page-attachments/MAZ21815.pdf.

According to Sen. Paul, “While some would have us believe we can only protect the environment by giving the federal government more control over Americans’ lives, my bill shows we can act while still respecting Americans’ private property rights and the Constitution’s limits on federal power. Kentucky’s farmers and coal industry suffered when the Obama administration implemented its burdensome WOTUS rule. Though the Trump administration replaced that rule, we know the new Biden administration will certainly try to return us to an unworkable scenario again. That’s why it’s now more important than ever to make an actual change to the law to fix the problem, and protect our land and invaluable industries.”