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Department of the Interior, Enviorment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC


Mr. LaTOURETTE. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. SIMPSON. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.

Mr. LaTOURETTE. I want to commend the gentleman from New York (Mr. Serrano) for the reasoned and balanced approach he has taken to this. Rather than filing a knee-jerk reaction either in committee or now on the floor, he has recommitted to working together to solve this problem.

It's a problem that needs to be solved. And I just want the record to be clear: In 2008, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation--not the State legislature, not the State--enacted ballast water exchange regulations that would have gone into effect, had they pushed the issue, that are 100 times more stringent than the international standard and would have gone to 1,000 times more stringent a year after that. Only two States, New York and Minnesota, had something in their regulations called ``innocent passage,'' and that is it applies to all ships that pass through New York's water, whether they take on ballast water or discharge ballast water or whatever.

I take a backseat to no one in this Congress on the issue of invasive species in the Great Lakes. My first piece of legislation I wrote was with Senator John Glenn, the Invasive Species legislation, in 1996. But this particular provision by the New York Port Authority would cripple and perhaps eliminate commerce on the Great Lakes.

So this deserves thoughtful consideration. It deserves our study. And I would again commit to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Serrano) to work with you and the chairman to find a way that solves this horrible problem of invasive species in ballast water or anything else but doesn't stop interstate commerce on the Great Lakes.


Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Chairman, as we sit and endure this mini-filibuster about how horrible Republicans are when it comes to this bill and the environment, I want to give a perspective about how some of these riders actually got in the bill.

I and a number of my colleagues have spent a lot of time talking with this EPA, this EPA administrator, and it's like talking to this lectern. Nothing gets through. And I want to bring to your attention one particular matter that I put in this bill that's a rider, and it has to do with the U.S. EPA draft notice 2010-X, and that was a notice that went out to the manufacturers of lawn fertilizers.

Now, everybody in the Chamber would agree that the people who manufacture lawn fertilizer, what they put in the bag should be safe; it should not harm the environment; and it should actually what do it's supposed to do, and that's grow grass or do something else. However, the EPA, because they had precious little to do, decided that they weren't content with regulating what was in the bag. They want to regulate what's on the bag, and not the list of ingredients but what the product is called.

So draft regulation 2010-X says that these companies need to reevaluate the trademark names--some of them that have been in effect since the 1960s--and remove those that the EPA determines are misleading to the public. Now I sat down with Ms. Jackson, the administrator of the EPA, and went over this. She sort of smiled and said, You know what, this really doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I brought it up in subcommittee last year and withdrew it at the request of the then-majority who said they'd work on it. Well, it's still here.

And here is a list of the words that they determined you can't use if you are in a lawn fertilizer business: ``Germ shield,'' ``100 percent protection,'' ``professional grade,'' ``pro,'' ``safe,'' ``safer,'' ``safest,'' ``natural,'' ``environmentally safe,'' and ``green.''

Now, hold on a minute. There's a company in Ohio. It's not in my district--full disclaimer--but it's called Scotts, and they make a product called Turf Builder. They also make a product called Turf Builder Pro. This draft notification tells them they can't call it ``Pro'' anymore because it's misleading to the public, even though the word ``Pro'' was installed to create a brand that small hardware stores could sell so you didn't have to go to the big-boxes, the Wal-Marts, the Kmarts, and those other companies. So it's a niche brand for smaller retailers. But you can't call it that anymore.

You can't claim that a bag of lawn fertilizer does anything green, unless that ``green'' applies to livability and sustainability. Now, Mr. Chairman, when I was growing up, green was a color. This folder was green. Not anymore. If I can't demonstrate this folder has something to do with livability and sustainability, I am misleading the people that are watching this program.

There's another company in Ohio that's over in Toledo--Ms. Kaptur's district--they have a product called Anderson's Golf Pro. And the EPA has indicated that they are not allowed to call it ``Golf Pro'' anymore because you don't have to use the seed or the weed and seed on a golf course. You could use it, Mr. Chairman, on your front lawn. So they have to call it ``Anderson's Pro.'' Well, wait a minute--they can't call it ``Pro'' anymore either because that's misleading. So they can call it ``Anderson's'' and hope you can figure out what you are supposed to do with it.

I told my friends at Scotts, You have really barely scratched the surface on this thing because the product that Scotts manufactures that I like so much is Miracle-Gro. Now can you imagine, Mr. Chairman, how is the EPA going to be able to certify when I put that Miracle-Gro on my tomato plant that a miracle has occurred? You are going to put a tremendous burden on the Vatican. All these little old ladies are going to be at the airport, flying over to Rome to talk to the College of Cardinals and say, Did a miracle occur? That's why some of these riders are in here. You have to be able to talk to people. And if they won't talk to you, you have to take action, as is contemplated by the Constitution as a coequal branch in the government. We have done that. And I'm sorry that it offends some of our colleagues.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. LaTOURETTE. I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Chaffetz). The gentleman from Ohio is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.

The amendment would take $6 million from BLM's Lands and Resources and transfer it to BOEMRE. The BLM's management account has already been cut $43.5 million below fiscal year 11, $15.5 million below the President's request. This fund allows the BLM to take care of more than 245 million surface acres and 700 million subsurface acres; further cuts to this account would not be warranted.

I want to commend the gentleman for the location where he wants to send the money. I have no big opposition to the increase in the BOEMRE spending. But we did the best we could to balance this particular piece of legislation. BOEMRE has already been increased by $37 million above fiscal year 2011. It's also been increased significantly in several continuing resolutions. Therefore, because of the location of the offset, I urge our colleagues to oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word in opposition to the amendment.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. LaTOURETTE. I thank the Chair.

Again, I want to commend the gentleman from Louisiana for his amendment, but he again targets the account that we talked about in the last amendment, and that is the Bureau of Land Management's land and resources account which, as I indicated during the last amendment, is already cut by $43 1/2 million below the fiscal year '11 level and $15 1/2 million below the President's request.

In addition, this time the gentleman attempts to reach the Secretary's account and wants to reduce it by $6.8 million. Nobody likes to stand up for bureaucrats or the Secretaries around here, but that account has already been cut by $33 1/2 million. Any further reductions could impede the new Office of Natural Resource Revenue, which collects royalties for on- and offshore oil and gas production, which I know is so important to our friends in the minority.

For those reasons, again not because of the place where the gentleman wants to put the additional funds but because of where they come from, I urge opposition to the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time

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