U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar has joined as an original co-sponsor of two bills that would reduce the regulatory burden on Hoosier farmers and rural businesses.
"As a farmer, I understand the regulatory burden placed on farmers and rural businesses by the Federal government," Lugar said. "We should not be increasing government regulations at the expense of farm and business operations. Unfortunately, that is what the Obama Administration would do with its proposed regulations on youth farm labor and water," Lugar said.
The first bill, the Preserving America's Family Farm Act, S. 2221, would block the Department of Labor from implementing its proposed regulations that place severe restrictions on young people working on family farms.
Last year, the Department of Labor proposed rules that would harm family farm operations by prohibiting youth under the age of 18 from being near certain animals without adult supervision; from participating in common livestock practices, such as vaccinations and hoof trimming; from handling most animals more than six months old; from operating farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower; from completing tasks at elevations over six feet high; and from working at stockyards and grain and feed facilities. These proposals have far-reaching implications and could severely limit participation in 4-H and FFA activities, restrict youth farm safety classes, and negatively impact rural lifestyle.
Senator Lugar joined Senators John Thune (R-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and 36 other Senators in introducing this legislation. In December of last year, Senator Lugar and 28 of his Senate colleagues sent a letter to the Department of Labor outlining numerous concerns and requesting that the proposed rule be withdrawn.
The second bill, the Preserve the Waters of the U.S. Act, would block excessive new regulations related to the Clean Water Act.
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued draft guidance on what waters are protected by the Clean Water Act. This guidance document would significantly expand regulatory burdens related to the Act. For the first time in the Act's history, ditches and other some-time water features would be subject to federal regulation. EPA and the Corps estimate that the new guidelines would cost between $87 and $171 million each year. Much of this cost would fall on farms and other rural businesses.
Senator Lugar joined Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and 26 Senate colleagues in introducing this legislation. In June of last year, Senator Lugar along with 40 other Senators sent a letter to EPA and the Corps that outlined their concerns and requested that the agencies abandon any further action on the guidance document.