March 27, 2017
Honorable Lamar Smith
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
2319 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC, 20515
Dear Chairman Smith:
On behalf of the National Cotton Council, thank you and your committee for the work on the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 1431) and the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017 – HONEST Act (H.R. 1430). We support both of these critically important bills in an effort to return sound science and transparency to the regulatory process that affects our members and all of agriculture.
The NCC is the central organization of the United States cotton industry. Its members include growers, ginners, cottonseed processors and merchandizers, merchants, cooperatives, warehousers and textile manufacturers. A majority of the industry is concentrated in 17 cotton-producing states stretching from California to Virginia. U.S. cotton producers cultivate between 9 and 12 million acres of cotton with production averaging 12 to 18 million 480-lb bales annually. The downstream manufacturers of cotton apparel and home furnishings are located in virtually every state. Farms and businesses directly involved in the production, distribution and processing of cotton employ more than 125,000 workers and produce direct business revenue of more than $21 billion. Annual cotton production is valued at more than $5.5 billion at the farm gate, the point at which the producer markets the crop. Accounting for the ripple effect of cotton through the broader economy, direct and indirect employment surpasses 280,000 workers with economic activity of almost $100 billion. In addition to the cotton fiber, cottonseed products are used for livestock feed, and cottonseed oil is used as an ingredient in food products as well as being a premium cooking oil.
As you know, agriculture struggles with many factors in the production of fiber, food, and fuel, but the regulatory impact and burdens on our industry have greatly increased over the last several years. In addition, we have found ourselves unable to adequately defend and maintain many of our crop protection products and technologies because we are often unable to access the data used by federal government agencies to place additional restrictions on these products and technologies. We believe these two bills – H.R. 1430 and H.R. 1431 – will greatly improve the transparency of regulatory review process. These two bills will substantially enhance the role of sound science that was intended to be a centerpiece of the regulatory process.
We look forward to working with you and your colleagues in Congress to get these bills enacted into law. If you have any questions or need any additional information from us, please have your staff contact Steve Hensley in our office at email@example.com or 202-745-7805.
Vice President – Washington Operations