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by Greg Martin, click here for bio
Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: February 26, 2016
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Newhouse/Vilsack Q&A. I’m Greg Martin with Washington Ag Today.
On Wednesday, during a House Agriculture hearing, Congressman Dan Newhouse posed a few questions for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Rep. Newhouse asked Secretary Vilsack about revisions to biotech regulations and whether USDA was engaging with EPA and the Energy Department on Sustainable Forestry Initiative and American Tree Farm System standards.
NEWHOUSE: Earlier this month I noticed that APHIS published a notice of intent to revise it’s biotech regulations and completed an environmental impact statement. I’ve got to tell you that the Notice of Intent seemed somewhat vague, it wasn’t clear what commodities or technologies were intended to be regulated under the notice. Could you tell me what prompted this regulatory revision?
VILSACK: We had proposed a set of changes many, many years ago that was sort of languished and so we sort of decided to withdraw that proposal and start the process again to give people the opportunity to refresh their comments as they had provided previous comments. We provided a list of alternatives and options. One of those options has to do with trying to make this process as efficient as possible. We heard concerns from the industry that it would take a good deal of time and we’ve reduced that time from 90 months to about 13 months on average now.
Newhouse also asked the Secretary about the forest certification programs and how USDA plans to educate the DOE and EPA about the programs. Vilsack responded that he’d make sure his staff gave the Congressman a full briefing and that they were doing everything they could to make sure EPA is aware but he did add.
VILSACK: Frankly I don’t necessarily want and I don’t think you want the EPA to tell me what I should be doing, do you?
And that’s Washington Ag Today. I’m Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.
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