Colombia Trade Agreement Stalled Indefinitely:
United States, South Korea Resume Trade Talks, Prepare for Presidential Visit:
The United States has said the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, which was signed in June 2007, will not be considered until the beef issue is resolved and the Korean market is fully open to U.S. beef and beef products.
The resumption of these talks comes just one week before the new South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is scheduled to make his first visit to the United States since his inauguration on February 25. He will visit with President Bush at Camp David April 17-18.
Montana Rancher Testifies at Clean Water Act Hearing:
Montana Rancher and NCBA member Randy Smith, of Glen, Mont., testified in opposition to Senate Bill 1870, the Clean Water Restoration Act, during the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Wednesday, April 9. S.1870 proposes to strike the word navigable from the Clean Water Acts (CWA) definition of waters of the United States, which would greatly expand the reach of the CWA.
NCBA and the Montana Stockgrowers Association do not agree that this bill restores Congressional intent regarding the extent of federal jurisdiction over waters, Smith said. Instead, this bill ignores Congressional intent and greatly expands federal jurisdiction far beyond anything Congress imagined at the time of enactment.
Smith warned that broad expansion of the CWA would impose a significant financial burden on the nations farmers and ranchers and harm their private property rights, while doing little to improve the environment.
It is one thing to regulate navigable waters and wetlands that have a significant nexus to those waters because they have true environmental value, Smith told the committee. It is another thing to regulate every wet area, or potentially wet area, simply because it is wet, regardless of the fact that those areas provide very little if any environmental value. To think that a rancher would be forced to get a Section 404 permit whenever a cow stepped in a dry wash or a puddle is nothing less than shocking.