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Environment

United Fresh believes that economic growth and environmental progress go hand in hand. The produce industry is committed to sustainability to assure our ability to deliver healthy, safe and affordable fresh produce to consumer for years to come.

We are currently working on the following priorities related to environmental issues.

Biotechnology

While the vast majority of fruit and vegetable production is not based on modern biotechnology, United Fresh believes these tools will be increasingly important in tackling critical challenges such as drought and the effects of climate change, enhanced nutrition and quality of fresh produce, improved pest/disease resistance and minimizing the impact of agricultural production on the environment. We strongly support federal government review of biotech varieties and believe that transparency about biotech varieties is an important tool for consumers as they make food choices. United Fresh will continue to engage industry leaders and government officials to develop an appropriate policy and regulatory positions around the use of biotechnology tools.

Clean Water Act

In spring of 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a lengthy final ruling defining the term “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. While the agencies explain they were trying to clarify ambiguities in the legislation that has been brought before the Supreme Court, United Fresh continues to have deep reservations regarding the final rule. From the beginning, United Fresh has said that this rule is a federal government overreach with vague language that would allow the federal government to confront private landowners and attempt to exercise federal regulatory jurisdiction over wetlands that are adjacent to tributaries of navigable waters. Such tributaries, called intermittent or ephemeral features, are often dry most of the year.  

The rule also includes other “isolated” or regional waters such as specifically designated potholes, pools and features in California and Texas as well as those waters with a “significant nexus” to jurisdictional waters.  This is why United Fresh supports HR 1732 – the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 – legislation that just passed out of the House of Representatives that would require EPA to withdraw its rule and go back and propose a new rule with broader outreach and consultation between the Administration and states, local governments, and stakeholders.

United Fresh Action:

Comments to EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regarding Proposed Rule Defining Waters of the U.S.

Additional Resources:

Congressional Research Service Summary of the Rule’s Scope and Impact

Crop Protection

United Fresh has long been committed to sound, scientific regulation of crop protection chemicals. United Fresh will work with our counterparts throughout agriculture to ensure that any policies affecting pesticide use do not result in growers losing necessary, proven-safe pesticide applications as a tool in their effort to produce an abundant, safe crop.  

United Fresh Action:

April 13, 2016 | Letter to Administrator McCarthy on Chlorpyrifos

December 8, 2015 | Letter to Secretary Vilsack Concerning the Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

August 4, 2015 | Letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

Neonicotinoids

The issue of what is causing higher than usual mortality in the bee population has been subject to debate for several years. Environmentalists have particularly focused on the use of the neonicotinoid class of pesticides as a potential cause of bee colony death.  However, there is substantial data to indicate that a number of factors have led to the dying-off of bee colonies. United Fresh will work with allies across the production agriculture spectrum to ensure that government efforts to address pollinator health do not lead to the banning of neonicotinoids, which have proven to be highly successful in suppressing dangerous specialty crop pests when appropriately used.

Additional Resources:

Minor Crop Farmer Alliance Response to EPA Proposal Mitigating Exposure to Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products