Friday, May 27, 2016

Joining Forces to Fight Red Tape

Rep. Adrian Smith
Much of our time in Congress is spent fighting overreach by the executive branch. In fact, a study just released by the Heritage Foundation found 20,642 new regulations have been added throughout the Obama presidency.  
Growing regulatory burdens harm producers and consumers, individuals and families, and the overall health of our economy.
As summer begins, fuel demand will rise as more Nebraskans hit the road for vacations and activities. Consumers can enjoy greater savings at the pump when retailers have the opportunity to market more fuel options.
May is Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska, an opportunity to celebrate and renew our commitment to expanding consumer choice, diversifying our fuel supply, and promoting American energy independence.
Ethanol provides consumers with a competitive alternative. Unfortunately, arbitrary regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently prevent the sale of E15 during summer months. The EPA granted E10 a waiver from its volatility standards in 1990, but this waiver has not yet been extended to E15 – despite the fact E15 is cheaper and less volatile than E10.
For many retailers, the steps required to comply with EPA regulations makes E15 uncompetitive. I have introduced legislation to extend the waiver to E15, allowing it to be sold year-round.
To encourage further investment in renewable fuels, I also cosponsored the Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reform and Extension Act introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota. The bill would reform the biodiesel tax credit so it is only used for U.S.-produced fuel.
In addition to stifling energy innovation, regulations also threaten the affordability and accessibility of agriculture products. Many Nebraska farmers and ranchers have expressed deep concerns to me about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations on anhydrous ammonia.
OSHA bypassed the rulemaking process and issued an interpretive memo in July 2015 redefining regulations on anhydrous ammonia. This change impacts approximately 3,800 agriculture retailers and would cost the industry in excess of $100 million to comply, likely forcing small retailers to stop selling anhydrous ammonia and restricting producers’ access to this important input.
When issuing the memo, OSHA ignored federal statute requiring major regulatory actions to be published for public comment. Retailers and producers should be given the opportunity to voice their concerns through the formal rulemaking process rather than having yet another unilateral regulation forced upon them by this administration.
In response to outcry from Nebraskans on OSHA’s actions, I introduced the Fertilizer Access and Responsible Management (FARM) Act in the U.S. House to block this misguided regulation. Senator Deb Fischer has also been an active leader on the issue in the U.S. Senate.
When it comes to finding ways to cut red tape, your feedback is crucial. If you are willing to join me in this effort and share your story about how regulations have impacted you, your family, or your livelihood, please visit my website at to send me a note. You can also learn more about my ongoing efforts to provide regulatory relief to Nebraskans at

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