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Letter comes as House Republicans attempt to use Farm Bill to undermine key environmental protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today joined 27 of their Senate colleagues in urging the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee to reject any efforts to politicize the upcoming Farm Bill by adding provisions that would undermine key protections for the environment. The letter comes in the wake of the House Agriculture Committee’s passage of a draft Farm Bill that undermines the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and Roadless Area Conservation Rule, among other important environmental protections.  

“For decades, the Farm Bill has provided comprehensive farm and food policy that is supported by members of both political parties,” the senators wrote in their letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “But increasingly, crucial must-pass bills are used as opportunities to attach environmentally harmful provisions that are incapable of passing on their own.”

“We write to you to express our strong opposition to gutting bedrock U.S. environmental laws with provisions that threaten our air, water, lands, and wildlife,” the senators continued. “We urge you to bring forward a 2018 Farm Bill that is free of these ideological distractions. Instead of undermining the Farm Bill with anti-environmental provisions, we strongly urge you to produce viable legislation that is free of unnecessary controversies.”

In addition to Senators Murray and Cantwell, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

The full text of the letter can be found HERE and below.

Dear Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow:

We are Members who have voted for a Farm Bill in the past or new Members who would consider voting for one in the future. However, we oppose any efforts to erode fundamental environmental laws and therefore urge you to reject anti-environmental provisions that bring unnecessary controversy to the Committee’s important work and place vital updates to agricultural and rural policy at risk.

For decades, the Farm Bill has provided comprehensive farm and food policy that is supported by members of both political parties. But increasingly, crucial must-pass bills are used as opportunities to attach environmentally harmful provisions that are incapable of passing on their own. Polarizing anti-environmental provisions will attract unnecessary opposition and complicate the bipartisan cooperation needed to pass this legislation. To avoid these harmful outcomes, we write to you to express our strong opposition to gutting bedrock U.S. environmental laws with provisions that threaten our air, water, lands, and wildlife. We urge you to bring forward a 2018 Farm Bill that is free of these ideological distractions.

Instead of undermining the Farm Bill with anti-environmental provisions, we strongly urge you to produce viable legislation that is free of unnecessary controversies.

Sincerely,