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Heidi Heitkamp on Environment

 


Farm bill is needed and is blocked by partisanship

Democratic Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp questioned Rep. Rick Berg's ability to fulfill a promise to help break Washington gridlock, noting he failed to get Republican leaders to hold a pre-election vote on farm legislation crucial to North Dakota. Heitkamp criticized what she said was Berg's ineffectiveness in advocating for a new five-year farm bill.

"When we talk about gridlock, the gridlock we got was within the Republican Party," Heitkamp said. "You cannot look at any kind of activity that you had on the farm bill and claim any amount of success."

Berg said he has pushed repeatedly for a pre-election vote, including supporting a "discharge petition" that would compel a floor vote on the legislation. House Republican leaders have promised to have a vote on the farm bill by year's end, Berg added.

The farm bill includes money for a host of agricultural programs ranging from crop insurance to soil conservation, but the largest chunk of money, roughly 80%, is for food stamps

Source: Bismarck Tribune on 2012 N.D. Senate debate , Oct 15, 2012

Protect North Dakota farm subsidies from Washington insiders

Political organizations such as American Crossroads (Republican) and Majority PAC (Democratic) have spent more than $3 million on advertising in the North Dakota race. That's close to $6 for every North Dakotan of voting age. The state's last competitive Senate race was in 1986. Berg and Heitkamp are on pace to wage the most expensive Senate election in North Dakota history. Much of the money is being channeled into television spots.

In most ads, Heitkamp is hammered as a stooge for President Barack Obama and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who are portrayed as enemies of oil exploration and coal mining, which are significant industries in North Dakota.

Anti-Berg ads accuse him of wanting to cut spending on Medicare and farm subsidies, and claim that Berg has "gone Washington," a gibe the incumbent Republican congressman himself used against Earl Pomeroy in 2010.

Source: Austin Stateman on 2012 N.D. Senate debate ad review , Sep 15, 2012

Make responsible cuts in farm bill, except crop insurance

Q: Where do you see the government subsidy on crop insurance going in the future and do you support such a subsidy?

Heitkamp: "When I travel around the state talking to farmers and commodity groups, what I hear is that people understand it's time to make some responsible cuts in the farm bill, but that crop insurance is a key part of the safety net we need to protect and preserve. I will work to protect and preserve the crop insurance program that our farm community depends on."

Berg: "Crop insurance is the No. 1 priority for our farm program. Agriculture is a bright spot in our country right now, one that is creating jobs and new revenue. As a policy-making body, we need to encourage agriculture rather than put up barriers for its growth."

Source: The Jamestown Sun joint 2012 N.D. Senate Debate interviews , Apr 17, 2012

Voted YES on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Whitehouse Amdt. No. 803 to S.Amdt. 799 to S. 601 (Water Resources Development Act of 2013): To create the National Endowment for the Oceans to promote the protection and conservation of United States ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Mr. WHITEHOUSE: This measure was part of the RESTORE Act, [but] this piece of it fell out of the bargain. If you supported the RESTORE Act, you have already supported this bill. If you believe that deals should be deals in the Senate, then you should support this bill. It is very important that we as a body support this bill. It does not create a single extra bureaucracy or person. It works within the existing government, and it adds no funding.

MississippiRiverDelta.org Summary of RESTORE Act: The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) dedicates 80% of all Clean Water Act penalties paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast restoration.

Proponent's press release supporting Yes vote: The National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act would provide steady funding that universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can count on every year to support research and restoration projects. It would be funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy. Revenue is generated through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments. Funds from the Endowment would be distributed through a competitive grant program to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.

Heitkamp says, "Heitkamp (D-ND)"

Reference: National Endowment for the Oceans; Bill S.Amdt. 803 ; vote number 13-SV116 on May 8, 2013

Sponsored no permits for legal pesticide runoff into lakes & streams.

Heitkamp co-sponsored Sensible Environmental Protection Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to prohibit the EPA or a state from requiring a permit for a discharge into navigable waters of a pesticide authorized under FIFRA. Excepts stormwater discharges and discharges of manufacturing or industrial effluent.

Proponent's argument for bill:(Blue Ridge Times-News, April 2013): Sen. Kay Hagan announced a bill to eliminate a "redundant and burdensome" requirement that 365,000 pesticide users get a CWA permit before spraying in or near lakes and streams. Farmers and other chemical users already have to meet stringent requirements for pesticide application under FIFRA, Hagan said, and the CWA permit only adds a duplicative, unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. Hagan said the "overlapping regulations" have also forced some municipalities to cut down on spraying for mosquitoes "because they don't have the manpower (to deal with the extra red tape), and they fear lawsuits."

Opponent's argument against bill: (Oregon Sierra Club newsletter Dec. 2012): Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" turned 50 this fall: it catalyzed the environmental movement [by focusing on pesticides like DDT]. Today we still face the issues she outlined in Silent Spring. Pesticide law and regulation in the US is a case study in corporate capture: beholden to the farm lobby in Congress, all the way back to the 1947 formation of FIFRA.

FACT: From 1988 to 1995, more than 65 bills were introduced in Congress to tighten pesticide regulations. None of them passed.

FACT: In the late 1990s, two separate investigations revealed that more than half of all former top-level pesticide regulators at the EPA subsequently went to work for, or were paid by, pesticide and chemical industry interests actively involved in fighting EPA efforts to protect the public from pesticides.

Source: S.802 / H.R.935 13-S802 on Apr 24, 2013

Other candidates on Environment: Heidi Heitkamp on other issues:
ND Gubernatorial:
Jack Dalrymple
ND Senatorial:
John Hoeven

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Retiring in 2014 election:
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MT:Baucus(D)
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Retired as of Jan. 2013:
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SC:Scott(R,Appointed)

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Page last updated: Dec 22, 2013