July 20, 2020

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DPR outpaces feds on neonic regulations
The Department of Pesticide Regulation plans to unveil new mitigation measures next month for a list of controversial neonicotinoids. The department had hoped to release the proposals in the spring. Due to delays from sheltering in place, it now plans to finalize the rulemaking later this year—following a 30-day comment period—according to staff in a meeting Friday.
U.S. EPA released its preliminary decision on those pesticides in January. Yet the agency extended the comment period several times since then, and it is unclear when the final decision will be made. EPA took a broader approach than DPR in its reevaluation and is looking at label changes, an action beyond DPR’s authority.
In 2014 the Legislature put DPR on a tightened timeline. It required a risk determination in 2018, which triggered a two-year deadline for adopting new regulations. DPR also has a moratorium on any expansion on the use of neonics.

State Water Board discusses Wine Order this week
The State Water Board released a draft of its Wine Order earlier this month for public comment. Staff will present the statewide proposal on Wednesday and answer questions.
The number of wineries subject to waste discharge permitting will increase fourfold, to about 2,000, according to the Wine Institute. Those businesses will have to pay for upgrades to treatment systems and monitoring for compliance.
On that note: The State Water Board has also released for public comment its plan on nonpoint source pollution.

Study: Media discourage SGMA engagement
Media have a “bias for featuring agricultural industry, politician, and water managers' voices,” according to a new study from UC Merced.
Across more than 300 articles over a five-year period in the study, media largely pitted discussion of groundwater management as a battle between urban areas and the ag sector, the paper finds. Disadvantaged communities and groundwater-dependent ecosystems were “poorly represented” in newspapers.
“If stakeholders do not see themselves in relationship with the resource in the media, they may be less likely to engage in the decision making,” write the paper’s authors.
They argue this misses the primary goal of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which is to redistribute this resource across many stakeholders and “across generations.”
Coronavirus relief, reauthorization on Senate Ag Committee’s plate
The House and Senate return to Washington this week with a loaded agenda before the annual August recess, including securing another relief package for the nation’s lingering fight against the coronavirus.
But Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts tells Agri-Pulse coronavirus relief for producers isn’t the only item on the committee’s plate. He hopes the committee can address livestock marketing reauthorization and get floor consideration of grain standards language.
“There are some things we have to reauthorize and I’m hopeful we can do that without a lot of unforeseen problems,” Roberts noted.

Farmers reassured on phase one ag commitments after Pompeo visit
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reassured Iowa farmers he is confident China will follow through with “phase one” trade deal commitments.
“He thought that the trade agreement by both parties, by both China and the U.S., is one that is mutually beneficial, and they will live up to,” Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill told Agri-Pulse after he and Farm Bureau members met with Pompeo Friday evening in Des Moines.
Despite large corn purchases last week, Craig says China needs to pick up the pace on ag purchases through the end of the year. He says Pompeo also noted trade talks with the United Kingdom will be difficult because of its separation from the European Union.  
Bill to fully fund LWCF on tap in House this week
The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a Senate bill to permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually.
The House Rules Committee cleared the bill for House consideration Friday, at a hearing where Utah Republican Rob Bishop, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said the bill prioritizes federal land purchases over the $12 billion maintenance backlog at national parks. He wanted amendments to be allowed on the House floor.
But Rules Committee Chairman and Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern said if the bill were amended, it would have to go back to the Senate and “there’s no guarantee it will even be considered.” In the end, the bill allows an hour for debate but no amendments.
The LWCF provides funds for state, local and federal parks and conservation projects. The Senate bill earmarks $360 million annually for land acquisition and $6.5 billion over five years for national parks maintenance.
He said it:
“John Lewis was not only a civil rights legend for the country, and an icon in Congress, he was my friend. It has been an honor to know and serve with him. I will miss John greatly and I join the country in mourning this loss.” – Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

Congressman Lewis, a civil rights icon, represented Georgia’s Fifth District in the House for more than 33 years.

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