Building and operating the Keystone XL Pipeline would pump millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And as EWG’s Heather White has said, approving the pipeline would overlook a better choice – “investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
The farm bill that passed the House this week and will likely pass the Senate next week has some positive features, including new conservation requirements for farm businesses that collect crop insurance subsidies and more funding for local and organic farmers. But those important provisions are outweighed by new, expanded and largely unlimited subsidies that do too much to help the largest and most successful farm operations at the expense of family farmers and the environment.
In an interview with The Real News, EWG’s Jason Rano talks about what the newly House-passed farm bill would do if signed by President Obama. Putting an end to direct payments, cutting SNAP, and expanding the crop insurance program are among the programs highlighted.
The House of Representatives has finally passed a farm bill. Passing through the House floor with a vote of 251-166, Wednesday morning marked the end of an over two-year battle. While groups representing almost every interest have been calling on Congress to pass a five-year bill, the final bill leaves some wondering if it was really worth the wait.
The farm bill produced by the conference committee last night (January 27) falls short of the reforms needed to create federal food and agricultural policy that can meet the challenges of the 21st century, EWG said in a statement today.
EWG’s editors asked the entire staff to pick the top agriculture-related stories of 2013, a category that includes the farm bill, farm subsidies, crop insurance, conservation, genetically engineered crops and food and several other related topics.
There has long been bipartisan support for conservation compliance by farmers and politicians alike. Now more than ever, those leading the way in reauthorizing the farm bill may hear a growing number of prominent Republicans voicing their support to relink to crop insurance the vital conservation compact between taxpayers and farmers.
Dust storms have re-emerged across much of Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas, fueled by the same combination of persistent drought, plowing up fragile land and poor public policy that led to the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.
Every day, thousands of farmers take steps to reduce polluted runoff and restore wetlands and grasslands. Many more would help, but 40 percent of farmers have been turned away by the U.S. Department of Agriculture when they offer to share the cost of cleaner environment.
During the first meeting of farm bill conferees last week, seven U.S. senators, including three former Agriculture Committee chairs, called for conservation compliance, a measure that would require those receiving federal crop insurance support to implement basic conservation practices.
Seven U.S. senators last week called for re-linking the federal crop insurance program to conservation compliance during a House-Senate conference committee meeting on the 2013 farm bill. The ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee also endorsed the linkage.
EWG’s Mary Ellen Kustin writes on the unbalanced distribution of federally subsidized crop insurance dollars, highlighting the 26 subsidy recipients who each received over $1 million in crop insurance premium support.
Hundreds of millions of conservation dollars in the federal farm bill should be used more effectively to address widespread water pollution problems in California, concludes a new report by Environmental Working Group.