House Republicans are preparing to take on the Securities and Exchange Commission over its sweeping plan to require companies to track and disclose the greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains.
A bill that will be introduced in the House this week would exempt agricultural emissions from disclosure. The bill has no chance of passing this year but it would keep attention on the issue while signaling that the SEC rule would be a high priority for Republicans if they win control of the House in November.
Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, the number two Republican on the Financial Services Committee and a former chairman of the Ag Committee, is leading the effort.
SEC Chairman Gary Gensler used a Senate Banking Committee hearing last week to downplay the rule’s potential impact on agriculture. But Lucas argues food companies will inevitably demand emissions data from their suppliers to comply with the disclosure requirement.
"Ultimately, the person in the field or the pasture is going to be the goal in this, and that’s why we can’t have it,” Lucas tells Agri-Pulse.
Take note: To maximize the bill’s impact, Lucas will be looking to get a broad cross-section of the GOP conference members to sign on as co-sponsors, starting with the most senior members of key committees.
Keep in mind: The SEC could very well modify the proposed rule before it’s finalized. Gensler assured senators the agency is taking a “close look” at the thousands of comments it has received, including the feedback from farm groups.
EU ambassador fights Russian claims on Ukraine grain exports
Russian President Vladimir Putin again this weekend criticized the deal struck with Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations that has been allowing Ukrainian grain exports out of three Black Sea ports in Odesa, according to media reports.
Putin, speaking at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said too much of the grain is going to Europe and not enough to needy countries in Africa and the Middle East
It’s a critique that Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S., says he’s pushing back on as hard as possible. Not only have ships full of Ukrainian wheat been critical to the Horn of Africa, but all of Ukraine’s exports are serving to push down global grain prices, which also is helping poor nations, Lambrinidis told Agri-Pulse.
Republican senators propose loosening training standards for truck drivers
Four Republican Senators introduced a bill Friday that would let small trucking businesses and agricultural employees skip Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) and still obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
The bill — introduced by Sens. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. — would create a “Small Business Restricted CDL,” which does not require applicants to complete the ELDT process.
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Take note: The measure, the legislators said in a release, is meant to reduce the burdens on truck drivers looking to get into the industry. The American Trucking Association estimates the industry is currently 80,000 drivers short nationwide.
Paraguay works toward ability to sell beef to US
Ag issues were a key segment of talks between the U.S. and Paraguay to discuss a new trade and investment framework agreement the countries implemented last year, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Paraguayan representatives stressed during the meeting that the country is making progress on meeting U.S. standards for raw beef trade and Paraguay expects the process to be completed next year.
Paraguay also highlighted its request to be included in the Generalized System of Preferences, a U.S. program that gives some countries preferential tariff treatment. Congress allowed GSP to expire, but work continues on Capitol Hill to revive it.
FNS eases requirements for summer meals
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is “streamlining” requirements for summer meals by writing into regulations four waivers that have been widely used in the past.
In a rule published in today’s Federal Register, FNS said it was codifying waivers for first-week site visits, meal service times, offer versus serve, and eligibility for closed enrolled sites.
“Offer versus serve” allows school food authorities to let SFAs ‘‘permit a child to refuse one or more items that the child does not intend to eat,’’ FNS said. The “eligibility for closed enrolled sites” waiver “[allows] closed enrolled sites to use area eligibility to determine site eligibility” for meals.
Commenters on the proposal overwhelmingly supported the proposed changes, according to the final rule.
He said it: “The SEC’s materiality standard applied to Scope 3 emissions are so sweeping and opaque that the ag community will undoubtedly be impacted.” – Rep Frank Lucas, R-Okla., responding on Twitter to testimony from Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler in which he attempted to minimize the impact of SEC’s proposed climate disclosure rule on growers.
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