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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. JOHANNS. Mr. President, given the EPA's recent track record with agriculture--if not downright contempt for it--farmers and ranchers simply don't trust the EPA. They could have done this program right and reached out to the congressional delegations in Nebraska and Iowa and said: Here is what we are doing. Here is the plan. They did not.

I found out about this accidentally. I have requested information--in fact, our entire delegation has--and the administrator has been nonresponsive. That is why the amendment is here. It is an amendment based on a lack of trust for the EPA. This maintains the status quo. This will change nothing. It will rubberstamp what they are doing.

I ask my colleagues to oppose the amendment and support the next amendment, which I will call up in due time.

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Mr. JOHANNS. Mr. President, low-altitude surveillance flights over farmers' and ranchers' private property has caused bipartisan concern, and it is happening--EPA is flying these flights. Senator Nelson and I and the entire Nebraska delegation wrote to Administrator Jackson saying, ``What is going on? What are you doing?'' Their response was kicked down to the Regional Director. It was incomplete. It was totally unacceptable.

This is not about drones, this is about flights over feed lots, trying to determine if there is a violation and then pursuing that action. What we are asking for is for the public to be advised of what they are doing. Until that happens, this amendment simply says: Stop. You can't do this anymore until you let us know how you are using this information and for what purpose.

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