Now that the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has marked up and unanimously passed its Water Resources Reform Development Act -- otherwise known as WRRDA or H.R. 3080 -- the push is on to ask the House Ways & Means Committee to allow a user fee increase to become part of the WRRDA bill.
Last week the Iowa Corn Growers Association joined 80 other organizations asking that the barge fuel user fee be increased to pay for maintenance and construction of locks and dams. "We are urging Iowa Corn members to send letters to House Members to urge Ways & Means to include the user fee provision in WRRDA," says Mindy Larsen Poldberg, director of government relations for the ICGA. She urges you to contact your congressional representative.
In other news of importance to corn growers, a federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must explain its role in regulating the Mississippi River watershed.
Judge rules EPA must explain its role in setting Mississippi River Watershed standards
In a ruling last week, a federal judge gave the Environmental Protection Agency six months to decide whether to set nitrogen and phosphorous water quality standards in the Mississippi River watershed or explain why they are not needed. The decision in Gulf Restoration Network vs. EPA requires the EPA to write a response to environmentalists' petition seeking strict new nutrient limits for states in the Mississippi River watershed. However, the judge stated that nothing in the federal Clean Water Act prohibits the EPA from collaborating with state nutrient reduction efforts as well as the EPA's preference for states to lead such tasks.