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Steve Womack on Environment

 

 


Stop considering manure as pollutant or hazardous.

Womack co-sponsored Superfund Common Sense Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) to exclude manure from the definition of "hazardous substance" and "pollutant or contaminant" for purposes of such Act. Defines "manure" to mean:

  1. digestive emissions, feces, urine, urea and other excrement from livestock;
  2. any associated bedding, compost, raw materials or other materials commingled with such excrement from livestock;
  3. any process water associated with such items; and
  4. any byproducts, constituents, or substances contained in, or originating from, such items or any emissions relating to such items.
Amends the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 to exempt from notification requirements releases associated with manure.

Opponent's Comments (Jim Ruen on AgProfessional.com, Oct. 3, 2011): Since when can a fertilizer dealer operate without concern for environmental regulation and impact? Let's face it, we aren't talking about Ma and Pa Kettle with their six milk cows and three sows here spreading a load of manure on the back 40. We are talking about CAFO units with thousands of animals and tens of thousands or more tons/gallons of manure. While a few maybe spreading on their own land, most are selling it to area farmers. At a time when fertilizer dealers and companies have to be conspicuously careful with how they handle product, why shouldn't mega-livestock operators be equally regulated as they sell their "waste" product for its nutrient and soil building value. Since when do commercial N, P and K producers or handlers get a free ride from the EPA...or Congress?

Source: H2997/S1729 11-H2997 on Sep 21, 2011

Rated 0% by HSLF, indicating an anti-animal welfare voting record.

Womack scores 0% by the Humane Society on animal rights issues

112th Mid-Term Humane Scorecard: The Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2011 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during last year. We rated legislators based on their voting behavior on measures such as agribusiness subsidies, lethal predator control, and the Endangered Species Act; their cosponsorship of priority bills on puppy mills, horse slaughter, animal fighting, and chimps in research; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection. All of the priority bills whose cosponsorships we're counting enjoy strong bipartisan support; in the House, each of the four now has more than 150 cosponsors.

The Humane Scorecard is not a perfect measuring tool, but creating some reasonable yardstick and allowing citizens to hold lawmakers accountable is central to our work. When the Humane Scorecard comes out each year, it helps clarify how the animal protection movement is doing geographically, by party affiliation, and in other categories. It helps us chart our course for animals by seeing where we have been effective, and where we need to improve.

Source: HSLF website 12-HumaneH on Jan 13, 2012

No EPA permits required for forest road runoff.

Womack co-sponsored Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the Clean Water Act to prohibit the EPA from requiring permits for a discharge of stormwater runoff resulting from silviculture activities.

Opponent's argument against bill: (Evergreen Magazine and Washington Forest Law Center): In Aug. 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that polluted stormwater generated by logging roads is subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. [The ruling meant] that rain runoff from forest roads constituted an industrial (not forestry) activity, which should be considered a "point source" discharge under the CWA. The lawsuit was brought because forest roads have been dumping sediment into rivers that support myriad species of salmon and resident trout, all of which are at risk from the pollution. The ruling will require State agencies to issue permits and ensure that road construction and maintenance practices limit or eliminate such discharges.

In March 2013, the US Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit: permits are not required for stormwater discharges from pipes, ditches and channels along logging roads. [This legislation supports the Supreme Court ruling, against the Ninth Circuit conclusion].

Proponent's argument for bill: (Press release by sponsors):

Sen. WYDEN (D-OR): "We need a healthy timber industry to provide timber jobs and to do the restoration work that ensures healthy forests. The way to do that is to stop litigating questions that have already been answered."

Sen. CRAPO (R-ID): "The jobs and economic activities relating to the forest products industry are critical to the Pacific Northwest. The Clean Water Act was not intended to regulate stormwater runoff on forest roads."

Rep. HERRERA BEUTLER (R-WA): "At the heart of our efforts are the moms and dads employed by healthy, working forests--and passing this law will help make sure they have jobs, and will help make our forests healthy."

Source: S.971 / H.R.2026 13-H2026 on May 16, 2013

No EPA expansion of regulated waters.

Womack signed Waters of the U.S. Regulatory Overreach Protection Act

Congressional Summary:

Argument in opposition: (by Rep. Bishop, D-NY-1)

The enactment of H.R. 5078 would, unfortunately, lock in place the interpretive guidance of the Bush administration: traditional Clean Water Act protections over a significant percentage of waters has been called into question or have simply been lost. These are protections that existed for over 30 years prior to the issuance of the first Bush-era guidance in 2003 and are now all but lost, making it harder and more costly for individual States to protect their own waters should their upstream neighbors be unwilling or unable to fill in the gap in protecting water quality.

Pollution needs to go somewhere, and since pollution does not respect State boundaries when it travels downstream, it will have an adverse impact on the quality of life and the quality of the environment of those downstream States. Under H.R. 5078, the EPA would be prohibited from ensuring that polluters in Connecticut continue to reduce excessive amounts of nitrogen in the Sound, leaving my constituents in the State of New York without any recourse to stop them.

Source: H.5078 14_H5078 on Jul 11, 2014

Voted YES to require GMO labeling.

Womack voted YEA DARK Act

A BILL to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national disclosure standard for bioengineered foods.

Cato Institute recommendation on voting YES: President Obama quietly signed legislation requiring special labeling for commercial foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)--plants and animals with desirable genetic traits that were directly implanted in a laboratory. Most of the foods that humans & animals have consumed for millennia have been genetically modified, by cross-fertilization. Yet the new law targets only the highly precise gene manipulations done in laboratories. Anti-GMO activists oppose the new law because it preempts more rigorous regulation. And that's exactly the goal of this bill, to the frustration of the anti-GMO crowd.

JustLabelit.org recommendation on voting NO (because not restrictive enough): Senators Roberts (R-KS) and Stabenow (D-MI) introduced a compromise bill that would create a mandatory, national labeling standard for GMO foods. This bill falls short of what consumers expect--a simple at-a-glance disclosure on the package. As written, this compromise might not even apply to ingredients derived from GMO soybeans and GMO sugar beets. We in the consumer rights community have dubbed this the "Deny Americans the Right-to-Know" Act (DARK Act). We need to continue pressing for mandatory GMO labeling on the package.

Heritage Foundation recommendation on voting NO (because too restrictive): The House should allow [states, at their choice,] to impose [a more] restrictive labeling mandate, but prohibit the state from regulating out-of-state food manufacturers engaged in interstate commerce. Instituting a new, sweeping, federal mandate that isn't based on proven science shouldn't even be an option.

Legislative outcome: Passed by the Senate on July 7th, passed by the House on July 14th; signed by the President on July 29th

Source: Congressional vote 16-S0764 on Jun 23, 2016

Loosen restrictions on predator control in Alaska.

Womack voted YEA Disapprove Subsistence Hunting Rule on ANWR

Library of Congress Summary: This joint resolution nullifies the rule finalized by the Department of the Interior on Aug. 5, 2016, relating to non-subsistence takings of wildlife and public participation and closure procedures on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.

Case for voting YES by House Republican Policy Committee: The Fish and Wildlife Service rule--which lays claim to more than 20% of Alaska--violates ANILCA (Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act) and the Alaska Statehood Compact. Not only does [the existing 2016 rule] undermine Alaska's ability to manage fish and wildlife upon refuge lands, it fundamentally destroys a cooperative relationship between Alaska and the federal government.

Case for voting NO by the Sierra Club (April 6, 2017):

Legislative outcome: Passed Senate, 52-47-1, March 21; passed House, 225-193-12, Feb. 16; signed by Pres. Trump April 3.
Source: Congressional vote 18-HJR69 on Feb 16, 2017

2021-22 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Environment: Steve Womack on other issues:
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Incoming Republican Freshmen 2021:
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CA-8: Jay Obernolte(R)
CA-50: Darrell Issa(R)
CO-3: Lauren Boebert(R)
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GA-14: Marjorie Taylor Greene(R)
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IL-15: Mary Miller(R)
IN-5: Victoria Spartz(R)
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MI-3: Peter Meijer(R)
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NM-3: Teresa Leger Fernandez(D)
NY-2: Andrew Garbarino(R)
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CA-53: Sara Jacobs(D)
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HI-2: Kai Kahele(D)
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NC-2: Deborah Ross(D)
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NY-15: Ritchie Torres(D)
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WA-10: Marilyn Strickland(D)

Republican takeovers as of 2021:
CA-21: David Valadao(R) defeated T.J. Cox(D)
CA-39: Young Kim(R) defeated Gil Cisneros(D)
CA-48: Michelle Steel(R) defeated Harley Rouda(D)
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MN-7: Michelle Fischbach(R) defeated Collin Peterson(D)
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OK-5: Stephanie Bice(R) defeated Kendra Horn(D)
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UT-4: Burgess Owens(R) defeated Ben McAdams(D)

Special Elections 2021-2022:
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Page last updated: Oct 24, 2021