( (Jamie) We’re back with Duane and Derek Schmidt as they discuss legislative issues of interest to producers.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you once again here on AGam in Kansas and while at the Kansas Commodity Classic in Manhattan, a chance to catch up with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Derek, you had the opportunity to address growers from across the state and for good, better, indifferent there are times when the Attorney General’s Office has some things to do with agriculture and you kind of highlighted those for them. Give us a recap of some of those things the office has been involved in this year. (Derek) Right. Of course, the Attorney General’s Office is not the Department of Agriculture so we’re not in the core of a lot of the policy debates, but it sure seems like in modern practice there’s an awfully lot of litigation that is so critically important to production agriculture, particularly in Kansas. So, we’ve been out there challenging a lot of federal regulations, challenging them in court successfully where we think that agencies have just marched off on their own, outside the authority given to them by Congress. It’s producers and other private citizens who pay the bill for that. We think that’s illegal and we try to get them knocked down whenever we can. We’ve got a lot of EPA litigation for example, much of it successful in trying to knock down some of those regs. We’ve had several areas where the work that we do really overlaps and I hope makes a positive difference for production agriculture. (Duane) Some of those, specifically Waters of the U.S., would be one that is on going with litigation. Unfortunately, it appears that it is outside of Congress’ purview at this point, or at least they’ve said they aren’t going to tackle it right now. (Derek) Certainly from a selfish standpoint I would welcome Congress reigning in EPA with respect to the Waters of the U.S., but they have to make their judgment on those, how they deploy their scarce resources. We’re not going to wait around to see if Congress acts, so we’re among a group of states that have filed federal litigation challenging the authority of EPA to implement its WOTUS, Waters of the U.S. rule. So far, the federal courts have agreed with us. We have that rule on hold by federal court order, at this time, indefinitely. I can’t promise you it will stay indefinitely, but for now we have them blocked, because we’ve convinced the federal judges that EPA does not have the authority to do what it has done. (Duane) Other issues that you referenced in that talk were about immigration policy and Chesapeake Bay. A number of things that appear to be maybe far from the border of Kansas, but ultimately do have an impact. (Derek) Yes, the immigration issue, we’re very careful at the AG’s office we don’t wade into the policy debates which are raucous and important and big, but our view is whatever the right outcome is, it has to be decided by the people’s elected representatives in Congress. When the President proposed an immigration reform and Congress says no, he simply cannot then go and do it anyway, which from our vantage point is what he’s done with some of his immigration Executive Actions. That’s why we filed suit along with 25 other states. We’ve convinced Federal court so far to block all of that. The U.S. Supreme Court is going to decide later this year whether or not the President had the power to do what he’s done. That’s the type of approach we’ve tried to take. We have limited resources, like everyone. We try to pick our fights carefully, the ones that really make a difference. But that’s a good example where we think that trying to make clear that the Constitution means what it says and the presidents of either party are not free to do what they wish, just because they wish to do it, is really vitally important for Kansas. (Duane) Our thanks to Attorney General Derek Schmidt, joining us in Manhattan at the Kansas Commodity Classic. Jamie, we’ll send it back to you for more AGam in Kansas.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.