John R. Block Reports from Washington August 21, 2019 “USMCA and Endangered Species”


   Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

President Trump and his Republican members of Congress have been unable to get enough Democratic support to pass the USMCA Trade agreement.  This should not be that hard.  NAFTA served US, Canada and Mexico very well with exports expanding over 20 years but it needed to be updated.  Get it passed and USMCA will be even better.

The Democratic critics said the agreement needed more labor enforcement provisions.  Now they are demanding that it address climate change.  I thought this was a Trade agreement.  What else will they want to add?  There is a limit to how much Canada and Mexico can stomach.  It is all politics:  don’t let Trump get a win.

Turn the page to the 1973 Endangered Species Act.  President Trump’s Secretaries of Commerce and Interior have proposed a new rule to clarify regulations under the law and prevent abuses.  They want to protect property rights and make it possible to use more of our land.  Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming had this to say: “The Trump Administration is taking important steps to make the Endangered Species act work better for people and wildlife.”  Wildlife advocates are up in arms against the proposed revisions.  They say it will mean death to the sage grouse and all the other “endangered species.”  Well, I’m not worried about the sage grouse.  We will still be protecting our endangered critters.  However, we need to put our land to work.  “Drill baby drill.” “Graze those fields.”  Within hours after the administration announced the proposed rule change, Defenders of Wildlife said they were going to court.  Should the critics be surprised?  The President is just doing what he said he would do: cut regulations and develop our resources.

Last week I talked about the EPA decision to provide exemptions to 31 small refineries.  Now they won’t have to blend ethanol with thin fuel.  Corn country is not happy.  Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said, “they screwed us.”  House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said, “the EPA’s waivers offset the benefit of Trump’s year-round sales of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol.”  With farm income half of what it was 4 years ago, farmers and many ag business companies are frantic to turn things around.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C.  If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to