Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia.

Who voted with farmers and for government integrity?

On September 14 the US House passed HB5226, the Regulatory Integrity Act of 2016. This bill sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan would have increased government agency transparency and accountability relating to public lobbying and advocacy for new laws and regulations. The EPA was found guilty of violation federal law in late 2015 in lobbying for the Waters of the US rule, and used $655,000 of taxpayer funds to support a vicious, dishonest lobbying campaign in Washington state called “What’s Upstream.”  Sponsors and supporters of this bill are calling for more accountability and transparency. We do not understand why this has not received unanimous support from our Congressional delegation and believe they owe an explanation.

Voting in favor of increased transparency and accountability: Herrera Beutler, McMorris Rodgers, Newhouse, Reichert

Those voting against increased transparency and accountability: DelBene, Larsen, Heck, Kilmer, McDermott, Smith

Say Thank You!

These are the Washington state congressional representatives who have made it clear to the EPA that illegal political attacks against farmers will not be tolerated. Let them know you appreciate their efforts.

Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler
3rd District
1130 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3536
Fax: (202) 225-3478
Email: http://herrerabeutler.house.gov/contact/

Rep. Dan Newhouse
4th District
1641 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5816
Fax: (202) 225-3251
Email: https://newhouse.house.gov/contact

(Note: Rep. Newhouse deserves special thanks for his remarkable leadership on this effort!)

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers
5th District
203 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202-225-2006
Fax: 202-225-3392
Email: http://mcmorris.house.gov/contact/

​Rep. Dave Reichert
8th District
​Washington, DC Office
1127 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-7761
Fax: (202) 225-4282
Email: ​https://reichert.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Where do these stand?

These are the Washington state US representatives who have not made it clear they are concerned about the EPA funding a false and illegal attack on farmers. We will inform you of their position as we find more. Please contact them and ask them for their help.

As an example, the letter we submitted to Senators Murray and Cantwell is provided below.

Senator Patty Murray
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2621
Fax: (202) 224-0238
Toll Free: (866) 481-9186
Email: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index./contactme

(Update: See Whats New for response from Senator Murray’s office)

Senator Maria Cantwell
511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3441
Fax: (202) 228-0514
Email: https://www.cantwell.senate.gov/contact/email/form

Rep. Suzan DelBene
First District
318 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
phone: (202) 225-6311
fax: (202) 226-1606
Email: ​https://delbene.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Rep. Rick Larsen
2nd District
2113 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2605
Fax: (202) 225-4420
Email: http://larsen.house.gov/contact-rick/email-rick

Rep. Derek Kilmer
6th District
1520 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
phone: 202-225-5916
​Email: https://kilmer.house.gov/contact/email-me

Rep. Jim McDermott
7th District
1305 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-3106
Email: https://forms.house.gov/mcdermott/webforms/new/contact.shtml

Rep. Adam Smith
9th District
2264 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-8901
Email: ​https://www.adamsmith.house.gov/contact/email-me

Rep. Dennis Heck
10th District
425 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
phone: 202-225-9740
fax: 202-225-0129
Email:  https://dennyheck.house.gov/contact/email-me

 

Our Letter to our US Senators: Please let us know if you will help farmers

This letter was submitted to the offices of Senators Murray and Cantwell by email on May 3, 2015

Dear Senator Murray:

No doubt you are aware of the EPA funding the campaign against farming called “Whatsupstream.” We want you to know how important this is to all farmers and ranchers in Washington state along with their families, and the many in our communities who depend on our farmers.

In 2010 the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission was granted $18 million by the EPA. Nearly $600,000 of that money was spent on the political attack on farmers. The Call to Action delivered a web form letter sent to “various Washington senators whose votes we hope to influence.” The sponsors used radio, bus advertising, billboards and online ads to support this Call. In addition to this violating laws against using federal funds for political purposes, this advertising did not comply with the required disclosure of federal funding on all advertising.

By reading EPA’s Puget Sound Financial and Ecosystem Accounting Tracking System (FEATS) reports, we now know that EPA carefully reviewed and approved the campaign. The September and October 2015 reports show intensive engagement by the EPA and website changes resulting from this engagement. Region 10 officials defended the campaign, stating publicly that their attorney had reviewed it and determined it did not violate the federal laws, changing position only when Senators Roberts and Inhofe asked the EPA Inspector General to investigate. The Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee asked tough questions and on April 21 Representatives Newhouse and Bradford and 143 of their House colleagues sent a letter to the EPA expressing extreme concern and supporting the calls for action.

While the EPA stopped expenditures under the grant it is trying to focus the blame for this illegal activity onto the grantee. This is unacceptable and unfair to the grantee.

Senator Murray, farmers across this state are angry and concerned. There are numerous reports of the antagonism toward farmers demonstrated by Region 10 EPA staff and reported in the Congressional letters. Now add this illegal use of taxpayer money approved by the very government officials charged with protecting public interest. The 2014 report of EPA’s Inspector General chided these same officials for their lack of oversight of grants. Afterwards Region 10 officials reviewed this political attack and approved it. Farmers, reporters and elected leaders see a very troubling pattern given the GAO’s finding that the EPA’s violated the law against lobbying in 2015.

As a distinguished government leader, we hope you, too, are appalled at the illegal use of taxpayer money and the dishonesty of the Whatsupstream attack. The website features a farmer spraying a field juxtaposed with a grotesque image of a spawned, rotting salmon. Their headlines state “Unregulated agriculture is putting our waterways at risk,” showing an image of dairy cows standing in a stream — a purchased image of Amish cows.

Farmers, if not the public, are aware of the numerous federal, state, and local laws protecting water such as the state’s Dairy Nutrient Management Act. They know they are doing the right thing: from 2007 to 2015, the Washington Department of Agriculture conducted nearly 3,000 inspections of Whatcom County dairy farms finding 85% of farms inspected had zero discharges, more than 12% just one discharge, and less than 3% of farms had more than one discharge recorded. Farmers are not always perfect but there is no doubt of the significant improvement in water quality and environmental protection delivered through regulations, enforcement and proactive investments far beyond regulations.

Given the lack of trust by farmers in the EPA it is very important we bring this matter to your attention. You are the highest federal official representing us and we are relying on you to protect us from an agency using our own money to publish lies about us.

A recent editorial in Capital Press, the West Coast agriculture newspaper, called on you and the other representatives to get involved. The farming community is anxiously awaiting your response. Please visit our website at www.savefamilyfarming.org to get the facts. The press coverage, relevant funding documents and congressional response are all here. You will also find valuable information about what family farmers across the state are doing to protect water and the environment.

We look forward to hearing from you and promise to share your response with the farming community.

Other Government Contacts

Senator Pat Roberts, Chair of US Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee
Email Senator Roberts