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DC Updates

 

Government Affairs 

Updated 5/28/2015 Clean Water Rule

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made several changes to the proposed rule in response to public comments, the final rule still expands federal jurisdiction over more U.S. waters beyond current practice, guidance and the limitations affirmed by two Supreme Court decisions. Property owners still have a lack of clarity about what is needed or required to not be regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers or the EPA under the Clean Water Act.

For that reason, the Institute will pursue legislative opportunities that would require the EPA to withdraw the rule and start from scratch. Read more.

Updated 5/28/2015 NAR Summary and Talking Points: Waters of the U.S. Final Rule
The Final Rule was released on May 27, 2015. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made several changes to the proposed rule in response to public comments, the final rule still expands federal jurisdiction over more U.S. waters beyond current practice, guidance and the limitations affirmed by two Supreme Court decisions. Property owners still have a lack of clarity about what is needed or required to not be regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers or the EPA under the Clean Water Act. Read more.
 
Updated 5/27/2015 Authorizations Granted Via Section 333 Exemptions
The FAA is currently considering exemptions under Section 333 from several different entities. Read more.
 
Updated 5/27/2015 New USDA Portal Enables Farmers, Ranchers to Request Conservation Assistance Online
The launch of the USDA's Conservation Client Gateway, means producers will have the ability to work with conservation planners online to access Farm Bill programs, request assistance and track payments for their conservation activities. Read more.
 
Updated 5/27/2015 EPA expands powers over land use in bid to control water pollution
Known as the Waters of the United States rule the proposal would give the Environmental Protection Agency a say in land use decisions wherever it deems those moves could affect important waterways. Wednesday’s move defined those waterways broadly, in a way critics said would extend to every ditch and pond in the country. Read more.
   
Updated 5/27/2015 Conservation compliance deadline approaching

With the dealdline only a few weeks away, farmers who have never filed for Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification, and only have crop insurance need to apply. Read more.

 
Updated 5/26/2015 $21 million in new water conservation investments
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest $21 million dollars in 8-states experiencing drought conditions. Read more.
 
Updated 5/26/2015 NAR Legislative Meetings: May 12
Land Use Committee Meeting Brief
Bill Burruss III, ALC, 2015 Institute Representative to NAR Land Use Committee, and Russell Riggs, Institute Government Affairs Liaison, National Association of REALTORS®, gave updates concerning Waters of the US, Commercial Building Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule and Energy Labels on Residential and Commercial Buildings. Read more.
 
NAR Commercial Real Estate Research Advisory Board Brief

Bill Burruss III, ALC, 2015 Institute Representative to the NAR Land Use Committee, discussed the topics of insurance claims and climate change as new business during the last meeting with the NAR Commercial Real Estate Advisory Board. Read more.


Report by Paul Bottari on the Land Use Property Rights and Environment Committee Meeting
Purpose: To position the National Association of REALTORS® on federal environmental, land use, and property rights legislation and regulation that affect development, sale, transfer, or the value of real estate. Read more.
 
Updated 5/19/2015 EPA’s and Corps’s Proposed Rule Redefining “Waters of the United States” (PDF PPT)

A presentation from the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in DC. View presentation.

 
Updated 5/19/2015 USDA to Expand Investment in Water Conservation, Resilience across Drought-Stricken States
USDA to Expand Investment in Water Conservation, Resilience across Drought-Stricken States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest approximately $21 million in additional Farm Bill dollars to help farmers and ranchers apply science-based solutions to mitigate the short and long term effects of drought. Read more.

 

Updated 5/19/2015  Critics Hear E.P.A.’s Voice in ‘Public Comments
After the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened up the comment period for their most recent proposal, which would protect the nation's drinking water, an overwhelming amount of comments have been received -- 90% of them in support of the proposal. However, their campaign "tests the limits of federal lobbying law, orchestrating a drive to counter political opposition from Republicans."  These types of campaigns urge grass roots groups to flood the agency with positive comments which counter those of farming and industry groups. Read more.

 

Updated 5/13/2015 H.R. 1732 Passed

Considered under the provisions of rule H. Res. 231. H.R. 1732 was "To preserve existing rights and responsibilities with respect to waters of the United States, and for other purposes." HR 1732 was passed last night with a 261/155 vote.  24 Democrats voted yes to pass the bill.  Although positive news, the President has veto power when this comes to his desk.

Updated 5/11/2015 Town Hall Meeting for REALTORS® Highlights Issues to be presented during 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) conducted a Town Hall Meeting for REALTORS® who were planning to attend the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During this live webcast, NAR Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello highlighted the issues REALTORS® were to present during meetings in Capitol Hill offices.  NAR's lobbyists were available to answer questions from the audience. View webcast.

 

Updated 5/11/2015 1031 Like-Kind Exchange and Real Estate Study: Impact

“The Economic Impact of Repealing or Limiting Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges in Real Estate” study highlights real stories of how 1031 like-kind exchanges are making a difference in the economy and in the lives of real people. Inside are key findings drawn from the draft study which shows the effects of repeal to the tax code. Read more.

Updated 5/6/2015 Press Release – FAA-Industry Initiative Will Expand Small UAS Horizons
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a partnership with industry to explore the next steps in unmanned aircraft operations beyond the type of operations the agency proposed in the draft small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) rule it published in February. Read more.

 

Updated 5/4/2015 Protecting Commercial Real Estate-Related Tax Provisions

Lawmakers and their staffs must be educated about the vital role that commercial real estate tax provisions play in the nation’s economy. Congress should oppose proposals that would repeal like-kind
exchanges or extend depreciable lives of real estate. Read more.

Updated 4/28/2015 USDA extends comment period for ACEP interim rule

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will extend the deadline to provide public comment on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program’s (ACEP) interim rule until May 28, 2015. Read more.

Updated 4/28/2015 Tell Your House of Representatives to Vote YES on H. R. 1732 to Protect Water Rights of the U.S. (WOTUS)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are working to finalize a proposed rule to redefine “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS).  This rule would significantly expand the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and would apply CWA authority to all natural and man-made waters, including streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, and ditches. This proposed expansion of the CWA would result in additional permitting of pollution discharges, including in the case of homeowners who want to improve their property. Read more and send a letter.

 

Updated 4/23/2015 Repeal Of 1031 Exchange - Will This Affect Your Real Estate Business?!
Learn what IRS Section 1031 tax-deferred exchanges are; how and when are they used; what would the effect on the economy be if repeal occurred; where you can obtain additional information on exchanges; and how you can voice your opinion on this issue. Read More.

 

Updated 4/22/2015 Farm Service Agency Tie Conservation Compliance to Crop Insurance
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) along with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) released the interim final regulation implementing the requirement to tie conservation compliance to crop insurance as required by the 2014 farm bill. Read More.

 

Updated 4/21/2015 House Votes to Repeal Death Tax
The House voted 240 to 179 on April 16 for full repeal of the death tax, a tax that is threatening the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across the country. House lawmakers passed the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, bringing farmers and ranchers one step closer to tax reform that will help their families invest in the future and pass their businesses onto the next generation. Read More.

 

Updated 4/20/2015 EPA Sends Water Rule to OMB
On April 6 the EPA sent the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) its controversial regulation to redefine the extent of its authority over U.S. water bodies for final review. Read More.

Updated 4/20/2015 National Flood Insurance Rate Changes
This article is a review of the changes made as of March 20, 2015. Read More.
 
Updated 4/20/2015 Waters of the US (WOTUS)
 WOTUS (Waters of the US) is the on-going challenge to regulate water pollution --- the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corp of Engineers have been tasked with this challenge. Read More.
 
Updated 4/20/2015 WOTUS and UAV Updates
Terri Jensen, ALC Advanced, 2015 National Institute President, reveals the latest updates on the state of the EPA's Waters of the US Rule and FAA's current UAV/drone regulations. Read More.
 
Updated 4/20/2015 Land Values: Charts and Maps
View charts and maps covering topics like the Average Farm Real Estate Value by Year, Farm Real Estate Value by State, Average Cropland Value by Year, and more. Read More.

Updated 4/20/2015 Is estate tax is hurrying the transition of the American family farm?
Tennessee farmer told the House Ways and Means Committee that the estate tax is crippling his and other family farm operations across the country. Read More.

Updated 4/20/2015 Walking 400 Miles to Protest a Proposed Pipeline
State Representative Ed Fallon has been walking almost every day to talk with farmers who's land may be affected by the proposed Dakota Access pipeline. Read More.

Updated 4/20/2015 Like kind exchange repeal; strong case for opposition
By now you have heard about the proposal for a repeal or limitation of the "like kind exchange" as part of a comprehensive tax reform plan for the U.S. Read More.

Updated 4/20/2015 Political sparring over the Land and Water Conservation Fund
A stunning stretch of landscape in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains known as Devil’s Canyon is a classic success story of a popular federal conservation program. Read More.

Updated 4/20/2015Interior takes first step toward possible hike in oil, drilling fees, seeks public comment
The Obama administration took a first step Friday toward a possible increase in fees charged for oil and gas companies to drill on federal lands. Read More.
 

Updated 3/30/2015 FAA Taking Comments on Proposed UAV Rules

Farmers who want to use UAVS—unmanned aerial vehicles—in their operations have until April 24th to comment on the FAA’s proposed rules on the use of unmanned aircraft systems. Read More.

Updated 3/30/2015 Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
On January 30, the President issued an Executive Order 13690, “Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input.” Read More.

Updated 3/30/2015 Senate Votes To Help States Sell Off Public Lands
The new chair of the powerful Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee secured a vote on a controversial proposal to sell off America’s national forests and other public lands. Read More.

Updated 3/19/2015 Legislation Would Open Federal Land to Hunters and Anglers
A bipartisan group of senators is working to broaden access to federal land for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Read More.

Updated 3/19/2015 House Passes Bill Promoting Wind Energy Expansion
State Representative Curt Sonney (R-Harborcreek, 4th District) authored House Bill 188 regarding wind energy. It passed Wednesday in the Pennsylvania House with flying colors: 194 to 1. Read More.

Updated 3/19/2015 House Likely to Pursue Limited Land Buying
A House committee that crafted a newly approved water-policy plan is now looking at how a voter-approved increase in conservation dollars should be used for land management. Read More.

Updated 3/19/2015 Press Release - DOT and FAA Propose New Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration today proposed a framework of regulations (PDF) that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today’s aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations. Read More.

Updated 2/26/15 USDA Opens Public Comment Period for Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Interim Final Rule
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments on its interim final rule for the new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), designed to help producers protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. Read More.

Updated 2/26/15 Statement by Thomas Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture Before the House Committee on Agriculture
Secretary Vilsack appeared before the House Agriculture Committee to cover the state of agriculture and the Farm Bill that was passed in 2014.  He mentioned during this meeting that he was working with the EPA to help the group understand the impacts that their WOTUS proposal would have on agriculture. Read More.

Updated 2/26/15 FAA proposes long-awaited drone rules
The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed much-anticipated rules governing the commercial use of small drones that would require drone operators to obtain certification and pilot aircraft without line of sight only during daylight hours. Read More.

Updated 2/19/15 1031 Changes May Change Your Business in 2015
Institute member, Brad Lyle, ALC, had the opportunity to sit down with his Senator Orrin Hatch to discuss the changes to the Like-Kind Exchanges provisions. Read More.

Updated 02/15/2015 Overview of Small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
The following provisions are being proposed in the FAA’s Small UAS NPRM. Read More.

Updated 2/5/15 Conservation Easement Incentive Act 2015
A bipartisan coalition introduced the Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015 in the House and Senate. The legislation provides a permanent enhanced tax incentive to family farmers, ranchers, and other landowners who do not wish to develop their land. Read More.

Updated 2/5/15 Forest Service releases final Land Management Planning Framework
The U.S. Forest Service announced availability of final planning directives, a key set of agency guidance documents that directs land managers’  implementation of the 2012 planning rule. Read More.

Updated 2/5/15 Federal Land Bill Calls for Expansion of Red Rock Canyon
The U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act on December 12, which included a package of land bills providing more space for outdoor enthusiasts' enjoyment. Read More.

Updated 2/5/15 NAR Statement on the WOTUS Hearing
NAR has stated their opposition to the vague and misguided "waters of the US" proposed regulation. On April 21, 2014 Congress held a hearing "Impacts of the Proposed Waters of the US Rule on State and Local Government. At this hearing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposed to reduce the amount of scientific analysis needed. Read the Statement from NAR.

Updated 2/5/15 D.C. Efforts to Prohibit Pre-Hire Marijuana Tests
The City Council of Washington D.C. has proposed city legislation that would legalize the posession, consumption, display, purchasing or transporting marijuana for personal use for persons over 21. While this is a local issue at the time, the trends are concerning across the nation. Read More.

Updated 1/30/15 Tax Deferred 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges
Congress has proposed repealing this tax code. This repeal would negatively affect business and the economy in general. REALTORS® Land Institute is involved in bringing awareness and information to the Hill to explain the importance of keeping this code in place. Read more.

Updated 1/23/15 US House passes natural gas pipeline permitting reform bill
The US House of Representatives approved a bill aimed at reforming federal natural gas pipeline permit reviews by establishing stricter deadlines for other agencies to submit information to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Read more.

Updated 1/14/15 Williams & Jenson Washington Update
Read the latest update from Williams & Jensen.

Updated 1/13/15 The Tax Treatment of Like Kind Exchanges
The Treasury Department Office of Tax Analysis published analysis of the 1031 like kind exchange discussing rationale.  It includes that the Federal Budget does not consider the 1031 exchange a tax expenditure.  The analysis indicates that eliminating 1031 exchanges would hurt liquidity of which would negativity affect consumers and the economy. Read more.

Updated 1/13/15 From Agriculture to energy, GOP intent on pushing back in 2015
Republican senators poised to lead major committees when the GOP takes charge are intent on pushing back many of President Barack Obama’s policies, setting up potential showdowns over environmental rules, financial regulations and national security. Read more.

Updated 1/13/15 FAA Releases Drone Exemption Process
Recognizing the demand to expedite integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS), the FAA continues efforts to develop the regulatory framework for safely integrating small UAS into routine NAS operations. This will primarily be accomplished by the small UAS (sUAS) rule, which is scheduled to be released for public comment later this year. Read more.

 

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