EPA USACE Withdraw Interpretive Rule

January 29, 2015 – On March 25, 2014, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Army signed an interpretive rule titled, “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of the Army Interpretive Rule Regarding the Applicability of Clean Water Act Section 404(f)(l)(A).”  Effective immediately, the agencies hereby withdraw this interpretive rule as Congress directed in Section 112 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriation Act, 2015, Public Law No. 113-235. The Memorandum of Understanding signed on March 24, 2014, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U. S. Department of the Army and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, concerning the interpretive rule, is also hereby withdrawn.

Kenneth J. Kopocis, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary (Civil Works), U.S. Department of the Army, January 29, 2015

MEMORANDUM WITHDRAWING EPA USACE INTERPRETIVE RULE

U.S. Ag Producers Urge Feds to Bring Rapid End to West Coast Ports Slowdown

January 29, 2015 – 92 undersigned food, agricultural and allied groups express their deep disappointment in the failure to resolve an ongoing labor dispute that has resulted in a severe slowdown of terminal activity at five west coast ports. This regrettable situation is having a severe impact on our ability to export agricultural and food products to many of our main export markets. Inevitably, these overseas customers will look to other sources for their supply of these goods. Similar to what we encountered after ill-advised export embargoes in the past, once lost, a foreign customer can be difficult to recapture. Additionally, the dispute is affecting imports from counter-seasonal production areas important for serving U.S. consumers.

A more immediate problem, however, is the effect the drastic reduction in containers being loaded is having on perishable commodities. Those goods are spoiling and being destroyed before they can be shipped or are being diverted to the domestic market at severe discounts. This represents an unconscionable waste of food products and a serious loss in revenue for U.S. producers.

The United States is the largest exporter of food and agricultural commodities in the world. Our sectors, as much as any in the economy, have taken full advantage of trade agreements negotiated over the past two decades to provide farmers, ranchers and other American businesses new opportunities for their output. Exports of agricultural products have grown from $46 million in 1994 to $144 billion in 2013 (the last full year for which data are available), and much of that growth has been to Asian markets, which are most directly affected by the ports slowdown.

The increase in food and agriculture products exported and imported has been extremely beneficial to the terminals and to the thousands of workers that handle shipments. The apparent indifference by parties in the dispute to the impact the slowdown is having on our sectors is disturbing.

We urge the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to take into account the impact this dispute is having on many of their fellow Americans and to resolve their differences as quickly as possible. We also urge the federal government to consider all available remedies to bring this dispute to a rapid end. The interests and welfare of more than just the union and the terminals are at stake.

Agribusiness Council of Indiana

Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) Almond Hullers & Processors Association American Apparel & Footwear Association American Farm Bureau Federation

American Feed Industry Association

American Frozen Food Institute

American Malting Barley Association, Inc. American Potato Trade Alliance

American Pulse Association American Seed Trade Association American Soybean Association Association of American Railroads Association of California Egg Farmers Basic American Foods

CALAMCO

California Cherry Export Association California Dried Plum Board California Farm Bureau

California Fresh Fruit Association California Grain and Feed Association California League of Food Processors California Pear Growers

California Rice Commission California Seed Association California Walnut Commission California Warehouse Association Corn Refiners Association CropLife America

Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Farmers’ Rice Cooperative Furniture Shippers Association Grocery Manufacturers Association Idaho Potato Commission

Idahoan Foods

International Dairy Foods Association

J.R. Simplot Company

Juice Products Association

Michigan Agri-Business Association

Michigan Bean Shippers

Midwest Food Processors Association National Association of Wheat Growers National Barley Growers Association National Cattlemen’s Beef Association National Chicken Council

National Confectioners Association National Corn Growers Association National Council of Farmer Cooperatives National Fisheries Institute

National Grain and Feed Association National Milk Producers Federation National Oilseed Processors Association National Pork Producers Council National Potato Council

National Renderers Association National Sorghum Producers National Sunflower Association National Turkey Federation Naturipe Farms

North American Blueberry Council

North American Equipment Dealers Association North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) North American Meat Institute

Northarvest Bean Growers Association

Northwest Horticultural Council

Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Oregon Potato Commission

Pacific Egg and Poultry Association

Pet Food Institute

Produce Marketing Association

Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Sunmaid Growers of California

Sunsweet Growers Inc. The Fertilizer Institute U.S. Apple Association

U.S. Apple Export Council U.S. Dairy Export Council U.S. Grains Council

U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc. U.S. Soybean Export Council

U.S. Wheat Associates

United Fresh Produce Association United States Meat Export Federation US Canola Association

US Dry Bean Council

USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council

USA Poultry & Egg Export Council

USA Rice Federation

Washington State Potato Commission

Western Growers Association

Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association