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Secret Farm Bill Threatens Environmental and Fiscal Cliff

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Both the Senate and House versions of the farm bill include $6 billion in cuts to conservation programs. Should a new version emerge from the fiscal cliff negotiations, these misguided cuts are sure to be part of the deal.

Industrial agriculture – not manufacturing, gas drilling or mining – is the largest contributor to America’s water pollution problem. And despite the high cost to taxpayers and businesses, most farm operations are exempt from the federal Clean Water Act.  Yesterday, EWG released Murky Waters, a new report which use Iowa water quality data to expose what amounts to be an ongoing environmental and public health disaster. Read New York Times coverage of the report.

State governments, meanwhile, have little authority to compel farmers to control soil, pesticides and chemical fertilizers that flow off their fields and into water supplies. This leaves the farm bill’s current conservation programs – the ones slated for deep cuts – as the only line of defense.

Members of Congress who care about clean water and the planet’s increasingly volatile climate should resist the undemocratic attempts to sneak this badly flawed farm bill into law. Read more at Ag Mag.

Table Scraps:

EWG’s Scott Faber tells National Public Radio why Congress shouldn’t toss a farm fill bill into a package aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff.

Environment & Energy (subscription required) has more on how lawmakers could look to the farm bill for $100 billion in budget savings.

New York Times’ Mark Bittman on why it is important to reduce human exposure to pesticides.

Tweet of the Day:

@CUESA Return of the Secret #FarmBill? Tell Congress to say NO! to corporate ag giveaways in fiscal cliff bill: @ewgfoodnews

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