Last week, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., helped lead the charge on Capitol Hill to reform how the federal government regulates agriculture and ranching.
Webster was one of thirty members of Congress who signed off on a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, “urging them to work jointly to address the numerous regulatory inefficiencies and statutory roadblocks in the agriculture community by modernizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and similarly outdated laws and regulations.”
U.S. Rep. Ron Bishop, R-Utah, chairs the committee while U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., leads Democrats on it.
In the letter, the thirty members of Congress urged the committee to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA), insisting it and other regulations create a “broken, burdensome process for farmers and ranchers, unfairly targeting them with costly compliance and unreasonable land restrictions.”
Webster and other signers pointed to an executive order on rural America’s economy signed by President Donald Trump at the end of April which noted “in the national interest to ensure that regulatory burdens do not unnecessarily encumber agricultural production, harm rural communities, constrain economic growth, hamper job creation or increase the cost of food for Americans and our customers around the world.”
The thirty members of Congress insisted that the executive order “presents a bipartisan opportunity to address the many regulatory issues negatively impacting the agriculture community," by implementing “cost-saving, modernization measures that will bring the ESA and other rules into the 21st century" and noted “there may be no more important policy change for our nation’s agriculture community than reducing its crushing federal regulatory burden.”
Webster weighed in on the matter on Wednesday and noted how important agriculture is to the Sunshine State.
“Agriculture is one of the three pillars of Florida’s economy,” Webster said. “Farmers and ranchers all over Florida grow and raise the food that ends up on kitchen tables around the world.
“The economic engine of agriculture must be complimented with sound, long-term policies that balance the importance of protecting our nation’s beautiful lands,” Webster added.“Unfortunately, overzealous bureaucrats in Washington turned the Endangered Species Act into a weapon wielded against hard-working Americans. With President Trump, we have an opportunity to reform the ESA to ensure that it meets its purpose without destroying the livelihoods of those who work the land.”
Webster been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 2011. Webster represents Florida's 11th district, which includes parts of Sumter County, Citrus County, Hernando, and central Marion County, as well as the far northwestern corner of Lake County. The district stretches from Ocala southwest to Spring Hill. Previously he represented Florida's 8th congressional district and 10th district, both of which included parts of Orange County. Prior to his service in Congress, Webster served 28 years in the Florida state legislature. He has been a resident of Florida since the age of seven and resides in Winter Garden, Florida.
Webster was the only member of the Florida delegation to sign the letter.