I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic new year.
The TSCRA government relations team hit the ground running in 2022. On the first workday of the year, we awoke to the Biden Administration’s announcement on measures they hope will increase fairness, competitiveness and resilience in the meat and poultry supply chain. The announcement is somewhat of a mixed bag. Provisions such as funding for independent packers could be beneficial for easing the bottleneck, but others have a lot of details that need to be flushed out to determine if they will meaningfully benefit cattle producers.
The bottom line: We’ll keep working with the administration, Congress and others in the cattle industry to make these and other efforts positive and meaningful.
The House already passed two important transparency measures, LMR reauthorization and the cattle contract library. Those two bills are in the Senate and awaiting action.
This Monday, the TSCRA PAC released our endorsement list ahead of the Texas primary elections. Early voting starts on Feb. 14 and goes through Feb. 25. Election day is March 1.
We haven’t endorsed in every race, and there may be updates before the election, so keep an eye out for updates on the daily update email from TSCRA.
Also, this week, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in the Miles v. Texas Central case concerning the use of eminent domain for their high-speed rail project from Houston to Dallas. TSCRA has submitted multiple amicus briefs on the case and supported the petitioner’s request for a rehearing before the Texas Supreme Court.
You can watch the arguments here. No word yet on when a decision is expected.
Also, on the high-speed rail front, Congressmen Brady and Ellzey introduced the High-Speed Rail Land Acquisition Assurance Act, designed to protect landowners in the path of the proposed rail line.
TSCRA’s statement from president Hughes Abell said:
“The Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association has long opposed the use of eminent domain to force the sale of private property for Texas Central’s high-speed rail venture. Private working lands are the backbone of our country and critical to maintaining the safe and abundant food supply we all rely upon. These essential lands should not subsidize Texas Central’s private investors, including foreign governments.
“We are grateful for Congressmen Brady and Ellzey and their commitment to protecting the private property of Texas landowners and cattle producers. We urge Congress to act quickly to pass the High-Speed Rail Land Acquisition Assurance Act before our land and livelihood are jeopardized.”
The press release from the Congressmen is available here.
Last but not least, we are currently drafting comments to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers as they move forward with the repeal and replacement of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. When complete, we will share our comments ahead of the Feb. 7 deadline and ask that you use them as a template to submit your own comments on the proposed rule. So please keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks.
That’s all for now!
Until next time,
Jeremy Fuchs is the director of policy communications and government relations for Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.