On October 29, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee gave its approval to theSilviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (HR 2026) by unanimous voice vote, one day before the House/Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee convened to reconcile the two chambers’ versions of comprehensive Farm Bill legislation. Since this provision—which would encode the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s longstanding practice of delegating the regulation of forest road run-off to state-run Best Management Practices programs—is included in the House version of the Farm Bill but not in the Senate version, this strong endorsement from the House committee of jurisdiction should strengthen House Conferees’ resolve to fight for this provision’s inclusion in the final legislation.
On October 31, fifty-four House members signed a letter delivered to all House Conferees, urging them to support the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act “without amendment” in Conference and reminding them of the provision’s broad bipartisan endorsement. FRA thanks our members who contacted House and Senate Conferees to stress the importance of this provision, as well as those who urged House members who are not on the Conference Committee to sign the letter.
The House T&I Committee also voted to endorse legislation rolling back the requirement for forest herbicide (and other pesticide) applications to operate under a “general permit” program and reinstating regulation by EPA-approved product label. Both Senate and House Farm Bills contain legislation supporting this change.
While momentum seems to be growing for the Conference Committee to include both a “forest roads” and a “herbicide” fix in the Farm Bill, the question of whether the two parties’ ideological divide over the Food Stamp program will prevent the Committee from actually passing a new bill (but settling for an extension, instead) remains open. Background at this link.