House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) opened today’s Environment Subcommittee hearing by emphasizing how the United States’ agriculture industry is the world’s best and farmers continue to combine technology, science, ingenuity, and work ethic to provide Americans a reliable food supply. Ranking Member Comer slammed radical environmental policies pushed by the Biden Administration and highlighted how attempts to cement burdensome regulations threaten farmers’ ability to keep food on Americans’ tables. As the former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, he noted the importance of promoting the use of new farming technology and supporting an industry which employs millions of Americans. He concluded by stressing the need for less government intervention and bureaucratic red tape, especially when farmers are still struggling with high gasoline prices and historic inflation.
Below is Ranking Member Comer’s remarks as prepared:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to the witnesses participating today.
The United States’ agriculture industry is the best in world.
For generations, American farmers have combined technology, science, ingenuity, and work ethic to outpace the global competition.
Simply put, American farmers are the best at what they do.
I understand firsthand what our farmers do for our nation and the world.
When I served as the Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, I worked for and alongside Kentucky farmers.
The agriculture industry in Kentucky alone provides over 250,000 jobs and is home to more than 74,000 farms. Nearly 70 percent of those farms are small family farms.
However, the Biden Administration’s radical environmental policies are hurting our farmers.
Hours after taking office, President Biden shutdown the Keystone XL pipeline, cutting off a huge source of American energy independence.
The Biden Administration held off on renewing or approving oil and gas leases, contributing to historic gas prices.
For the first time ever, the national average price for gas was over $5 dollars a gallon.
California’s gas prices reached nearly $10 dollars a gallon!
Further, our supply chains were already struggling to recover from COVID shutdowns.
Now they are trying to recover with skyrocketing energy prices. That’s pretty tough to do. Just look at our grocery stores. They are struggling to keep shelves stocked.
Meanwhile, we have parents across the country having a hard time feeding their babies because of infant formula shortages.
The energy index also rose 41.6 percent over the last year, the largest twelve month increase since 1980.
The Biden Administration’s energy policies have contributed to all-time high food prices and historic inflation.
It would be great to talk to the Biden Administration about this.
But today, once again, the Democrats are talking about federal policies, and there isn’t a single witness from the Biden Administration on the panel.
Instead, we are going to hear how farmers need to use regenerative farming practices. Well, American farmers already do.
Farmers regularly use sustainable practices to create a higher yield and to promote efficiency on their lands.
Unfortunately, Democrats love using this catch-all term as an excuse to justify more regulations on farmers. They want to claim if only farmers were forced to use these techniques, then climate change will be solved.
But we should not and cannot wrap up farmers in bureaucratic red tape.
Doing so will harm farmers, destroy Americans’ food supply, and do nothing to solve climate change.
Sadly, the Biden Administration continues to burden farmers with more regulations that create more costs and uncertainty. And these costs are passed on to the American people who are struggling to make ends meet during 40-year high inflation.
Take the proposed revisions to the Waters of the United States Rule—the WOTUS Rule—for example.
This rulemaking would cut off access to crops on farmers’ lands because it gives the federal government power over any waterways on the land. What sense does that make?
Under President Biden, the Environmental Protection Agency is also trying to limit useful herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.