Environmental Issues

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES COMMITTEE

Howdy Lawlar, Chairman
Craig Kemmet, Vice Chairman
 
20-Resolution passed in 2020
19-Resolution passed in 2019
18-Resolution passed in 2018

CLEAN WATER - 20 (EI)

WHEREAS, the NDSA believes that clean water is essential to the health and well-being of the nation; and

WHEREAS, local, state and federal regu­lations for concentrated animal feeding opera­tions (CAFOs) and animal feeding operations (AFOs) may force unnecessary and costly re­strictions on animal agriculture; and

WHEREAS, voluntary, incentive-based conservation is a proven, effective method.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a voluntary, incentive-based and locally controlled approach to clean wa­ter.

 

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT RISK ASSESSMENTS - 20 (EI)

WHEREAS, activist groups have targeted agricultural pesticides and rodenticides by filing lawsuits and claiming a breech in risk assessment requirements.

         THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a federal legislative solution that clearly establishes the primacy of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenti­cide Act for pesticide regulation in the United States and an amendment to the Endangered Species Act to exempt the Environmental Pro­tection Agency’s pesticide reviews from Sec­tion 7 of the act if those reviews are conducted under a system agreed upon by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

 

PREDATOR CONTROL - 20 (EI)

WHEREAS, predator populations are in­creasing very rapidly, creating problems in the livestock industry and wildlife populations.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the reclassification of moun­tain lions and coyotes from furbearer to pred­ator.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA supports continued state and federal funding for predator control.

 

SPECIES RECOVERY - 20 (EI)

        WHEREAS, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not provide proper incentives for species recovery and, in many instances, limits and/or intrudes on the property rights of private landowners for the purpose of species habitat preservation; and

WHEREAS, these limitations and intru­sions on the free use of private property often restrict economic use of land and, in some cas­es, diminish property value; and

WHEREAS, non-regulatory solutions, based on a proactive species conservation partnership, should be found to ease the bur­den of the ESA on public and private land ranchers; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA believes that re­covery using voluntary incentives and, ul­timately, delisting of species covered by the ESA should be the highest priority of the ESA.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA promotes recovery as an avenue of re­form to the ESA, and that federal funding for the ESA should be prioritized to reflect this priority.

       THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA insists that scientific data be presented and/or studies be conducted that conclusively demonstrate what the spe­cies’ historic range was and how the demo­graphic of that present-day historic range has changed and if it is still suitable for the species in question.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA urges federal agencies to work with states and landowner stakeholders in developing realistic goals for species. 

 

STATE WATER RIGHTS - 20 (EI)

WHEREAS, the federal government, through the Reed Amendment in 1993, at­tempted to override North Dakota state water laws, as well as that of several other western states.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA urges our Congressional delegation and governor to vigorously oppose any future attempts by the federal government to dimin­ish North Dakota’s right to allocate state water rights.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA opposes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attempting to take control over the right to the natural flows that belong with the State of North Dakota.

 

M-44 SODIUM CYANIDE DEVICES - 19 (EI)

WHEREAS, M-44 sodium cyanide de­vices are effective tools used to control wild animals that prey upon livestock, as well as threatened and endangered species; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Agri­culture’s Wildlife Services utilizes the M-44 devices to control these predators and assist livestock producers; and

WHEREAS, when properly utilized, there are no occupational risks of concern to hu­mans; and

WHEREAS, Wildlife Services has em­ployed stringent safety steps, only placing the devices on private land with written per­mission and posting warning signs about the predacide; and

WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently withdrawn its in­terim registration review decision on sodium cyanide; and

WHEREAS, the loss of the M-44 sodium cyanide devices would impair Wildlife Ser­vices’ ability to do its job and would result in severe economic consequences if predators were left unchecked.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the elimination or restriction of M-44 sodium cyanide devices and urges EPA to reverse its interim withdrawal deci­sion.

 

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR - 19 (EI)

WHEREAS, the U.S. Drought Monitor ad­ministered by the University of Nebraska-Lin­coln (UNL) establishes the drought status for counties across the United States; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Drought Monitor is used as the mechanism to assess disaster re­lief payments under the Livestock Forage Program administered by the Farm Service Agency; and

       WHEREAS, the determination to list a county’s drought classification as moderate (D1), severe (D2), extreme (D3) or exception­al (D4) is based on five criterion: 1) the Palm­er Drought Index, 2) the CPC Soil Moisture Model, 3) the U.S. Geological Survey’s Week­ly Streamflow statistics, 4) the Standardized Precipitation Index and 5) Objective Short-and Long-term Indicator Blends; and

WHEREAS, the current criteria used to establish a county’s drought classification by UNL do not necessarily reflect the true severi­ty of a drought; and

WHEREAS, an inaccurate drought status has a detrimental impact on the total payment a rancher will receive under the Livestock Forage Program.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA urges UNL to take the necessary steps to adjust the criteria used to determine a coun­ty’s drought classification so as to be consis­tent with actual on-the-ground conditions; and

        THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA requests UNL to es­tablish a formalized system to more readily accept data submitted from local researchers and federal and state agencies and be used by university staff when making drought classi­fications. 

 

PRAIRIE DOGS - 19 (EI)

WHEREAS, the prairie dog is a nuisance rodent that destroys grasses, leaving the soil vulnerable to erosion and invasion by noxious weeds, and is a known host to vectors that carry Bubonic Plague that is threatening to humans; and

WHEREAS, they exist throughout the West in numbers well above endangered levels.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any listing of the prairie dog as a threatened or endangered species.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA urges the North Dako­ta Department of Agriculture to declare the prairie dog a pest and the proper authorities to enforce its control.

 

WETLANDS - 19 (EI)

WHEREAS, the federal government’s cur­rent policy on wetlands affects the use, val­ue and private property rights on millions of acres of privately owned agricultural land; and

WHEREAS, the federal government’s of­ficial method of defining wetlands is gravely flawed and leads to wetlands delineation of ranch and farm land which should not be con­sidered wetlands; and

WHEREAS, cattle grazing is a beneficial maintenance use of wet areas and thereby pro­tects natural wetland values; and

WHEREAS, surface inundation exists for a significant portion of the growing season of every year under normal precipitation.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any federal wetlands regula­tory authority over all man-made wet areas.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA pursues changes to ben­efit the livestock industry in the federal wet­lands policy.

 

CLEAN AIR - 18 (EI)

WHEREAS, the NDSA believes air quality is essential to the health and well-being of the nation; and

WHEREAS, the Environmental Protec­tion Agency rule that addresses the National Ambient Air Quality Standard is not based on credible scientific evidence that particulate matter emissions cause adverse health effects; and

WHEREAS, this standard is cost-prohibi­tive for agriculture to comply with.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a legislative effort or com­panion rules that would give agriculture an exclusion from the coarse particulate matter standards.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE - 18 (EI)

WHEREAS, cattle producers are stewards of all natural resources, including land, live­stock, water and air; and

WHEREAS, agriculture makes positive contributions to the environment; and

WHEREAS, climate change legislation could put the United States at a large trade disadvantage in comparison to other coun­tries; and

WHEREAS, the legislation could result in large energy-cost increases, particularly for those in agriculture.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA works to reduce or eliminate efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, related climate change legisla­tion or promulgated rules.

 

NOXIOUS WEEDS - 18 (EI)

WHEREAS, noxious weeds are a growing problem in North Dakota, consuming more and more of the state’s precious rangelands; and

WHEREAS, species such as Palmer ama­ranth have been discovered recently in North Dakota and have far greater destructive ten­dencies and herbicide resistance than other prohibited noxious weeds already established here; and

WHEREAS, proper weed control is going to require greater surveillance and vigilance in order to be effective; and

WHEREAS, cattle producers recognize the need for government cutbacks in spending and that priorities need to be determined.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA feels that noxious weed control is a high priority and that these programs should be funded to a level commensurate with the problem.

 

WATER APPROPRIATION - 18 (EI)

WHEREAS, recreational needs are grow­ing at a rapid pace, creating more demand on the waters of the state; and

WHEREAS, this increased pressure on wa­ter resources may lead to attempts to change the priority ranking for water allocation.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any attempt to diminish agri­culture’s and livestock’s priority ranking for the waters of the state under the jurisdiction of the State Water Commission.

 

WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES - 18 (EI)

WHEREAS, there have been several legis­lative and regulatory attempts to expand the definition of the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) in reference to the Clean Water Act of 1972 over recent years; and

       WHEREAS, the Environmental Protec­tion Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the 2015 WOTUS rule that exceeds statutory authority, imposes burden­some regulations on farmers and ranchers, allows for third-party litigation and citizen lawsuits that could incentivize activists, was finalized in violation of mandatory procedural requirements and is otherwise unlawful.

        THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the 2015 WOTUS rule and related efforts that ignore private water stew­ardship practices, undermine state and local authority and subject producers to costly and time-consumptive permits and potential law­suits.

       THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA work with EPA and other decision-makers to ensure that any new definition of WOTUS is done in a way that protects water quality while promoting eco­nomic growth, minimizing regulation and re­specting private property rights and the roles of Congress and the states under the U.S. Con­stitution. 

 

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