Today the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture approved several dangerous Farm Bill provisions that seek to skirt environmental protections for our waters, wildlife and forests. These provisions include allowing more pesticides to be sprayed directly onto our waters, exempting genetically engineered crops from environmental laws or even USDA review, blocking measures to protect endangered species from toxic pesticides, and increasing logging and road projects in our national forests.
The following statement is from Sarah Saylor, Senior Legislative Representative for Earthjustice:
“The House of Representatives is a broken record on repeat, continuing their anti-environmental agenda that includes attacks on our water, wildlife, and public lands. Certain elected officials repeatedly favor their corporate benefactors at the expense of our health, safety and environment.
“The bill contains a provision to allow for pesticide application directly onto our waterways without any protections currently afforded under the Clean Water Act. This is an insult to Americans who expect and deserve clean water for drinking and for fishing and recreation. Such practices also poison fish and other species that live in and around our waters.
“Further, the bill puts the interests of pesticide manufacturers ahead of the health of our wildlife and communities, undermining measures recommended by federal wildlife experts to protect endangered species from pesticides. This spells disaster for species already on the brink of extinction because of pesticides and other threats.
“Another provision seeks to bypass our environmental laws and rubber-stamp approval of genetically engineered crops. This will not only put the food system at risk but also potentially cost farmers millions of dollars if and when their crops become contaminated with genetically engineered crops. Such crops also are associated with the use of greater and more potent pesticides and herbicides, which can harm farm workers and wildlife.
“The bill also allows logging, road-building and other controversial projects to proceed in our national forests with limited or no public review, regardless of whether these projects address immediate fire or disease risks. This essentially authorizes destruction of critical areas of forests without any meaningful oversight.
“We urge those members of Congress who care about our health to remove all anti-environmental provisions from the final 2012 farm bill.”