Grain News

Senators Ask OSHA to Stop Illegal Regulation of Family Farms

Date Posted: December 23, 2013

Washington DC—U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., joined Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and 40 other senators from both sides of the aisle, requested the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to immediately stop its unlawful regulation of family farms.

“OSHA is creating an artificial distinction in an apparent effort to circumvent the Congressional prohibition on regulating farms,” the senators wrote in a joint letter to Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who oversees OSHA.

“Congress has spoken clearly and we sincerely hope that you will support America’s farmers and respect the intent of Congress by reining in OSHA.”

Since 1976, Congress has exempted small, family-run farms from OSHA regulations, but in a 2011 memo OSHA asserted that on-farm grain storage and handling was not part of farm operations.

The memo essentially expanded OSHA’s regulatory scope to nearly every farm in the country without going through the established rule making process that allows Congressional review and public comment, in defiance of the law.

In addition to Enzi, Johanns and Barrasso the letter was signed by U.S. Senators. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Dan Coats, R-Ind., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, John Hoeven, R-N.D., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Mike Lee, R-Utah, John McCain, R-Ariz., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Pat Toomey, R-Pa., John Thune, R-S.D., David Vitter, R-La. and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

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