Text: H.R.1304 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

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Introduced in House (03/20/2013)


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[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1304 Introduced in House (IH)]

113th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1304

 To permit the chief executive of a State to create an exemption from 
  certain requirements of Federal environmental laws for producers of 
           agricultural commodities, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 20, 2013

 Mr. Walberg introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
 Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on 
  Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently 
   determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such 
 provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To permit the chief executive of a State to create an exemption from 
  certain requirements of Federal environmental laws for producers of 
           agricultural commodities, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Flexibility to Farm Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The agricultural community of the United States serves 
        as the economic backbone of many communities and employs 
        millions of Americans.
            (2) In recent years, one-size-fits-all policies issued by 
        the Environmental Protection Agency have increased 
        dramatically, requiring agricultural producers to focus on 
        regulation compliance rather than on growing the world's 
        healthiest, most abundant food supply.
            (3) Attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency to 
        expand the definition of ``navigable waters'' under the Federal 
        Water Pollution Control Act expand the scope of Federal 
        jurisdiction under that Act well beyond the intent of Congress, 
        and would eliminate a central precept of that Act, which 
        reserves certain waters to the exclusive jurisdiction of the 
        States.
            (4) The Environmental Protection Agency's interpretation of 
        the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure program has 
        attempted to regulate milk in the same manner as petroleum, 
        requiring dairy farmers to develop oil spill prevention plans 
        and moving far beyond common sense and the intent of the law.
            (5) An increasing number of poultry and livestock 
        operations have been forced to apply for permits under the 
        National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System resulting from 
        the Environmental Protection Agency's expanding definition of 
        what constitutes a discharge under the Federal Water Pollution 
        Control Act.
            (6) Duplicative and costly permitting requirements under 
        the Federal Water Pollution Control Act will require additional 
        National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for 
        pesticide applications, subjecting pesticide users to 
        unnecessary red tape and financial burdens while exposing them 
        to the threat of unfounded litigation.
            (7) The Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a 
        program to regulate greenhouse gases as ``air pollutants'' 
        under the Clean Air Act, which could impose an undue burden on 
        agricultural producers by requiring them to obtain permits to 
        continue operations.
            (8) The Federal Government should not impose further rules 
        or regulations that are overly burdensome or cause economic 
        hardship for the agricultural community.

SEC. 3. UNDULY BURDENSOME REGULATIONS EXEMPTION.

    (a) In General.--If the chief executive of a State determines, in 
accordance with this section, that a requirement of a covered Federal 
environmental law, or a regulation thereunder, is unduly burdensome to 
persons in the State acting in their capacity as farmers, such 
requirement or regulation shall not apply to persons in the State 
acting in that capacity.
    (b) Procedure.--Before finalizing any determination under 
subsection (a), the chief executive of a State shall solicit and accept 
public comments regarding such determination for a period of not less 
than 90 days.
    (c) Definitions.--In this Act:
            (1) Covered federal environmental law.--The term ``covered 
        Federal environmental law'' means--
                    (A) the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), 
                insofar as such Act applies to emissions of air 
                pollutants other than emissions resulting from the 
                combustion of any fossil fuel; and
                    (B) the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 
                U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).
            (2) Farmer.--The term ``farmer'' means--
                    (A) a producer, as that term is defined in--
                            (i) section 1001 of the Food, Conservation, 
                        and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 8702);
                            (ii) section 1506(a) of the Food, 
                        Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 
                        8773(a)); and
                            (iii) section 212 of the Agricultural 
                        Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1635a); and
                    (B) a producer of a specialty crop, as that term is 
                defined in section 3 of the Specialty Crops 
                Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note; Public 
                Law 108-465).
            (3) State.--The term ``State'' means any of the several 
        States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the 
        Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, 
        Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
        Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United 
        States.
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