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From: TSS ()
Subject: USDA Error May Delay Canada Cattle Trade
Date: February 11, 2005 at 2:51 pm PST

USDA Error May Delay Canada Cattle Trade
February 11, 2005 5:00:00 PM ET

By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A procedural misstep by the Bush administration
may require a delay in its plan to resume imports of some beef and
cattle from Canada on March 7, a U.S. senator opposing the regulation
said on Friday.

Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota said the U.S. Agriculture
Department failed to notify the Senate of its trade regulation, despite
being required by law to do so. Congress has the power to review major
regulations and can overturn them.

``As far as the administration is concerned, we submitted it properly,''
said department spokeswoman Alisa Harrison. ``We consider March 7 to
still be the effective date.''

Harrison gave to reporters copies of a receipt signed by Vice President
Dick Cheney's office on Jan. 4 to accept the formal notice of the rule.
The vice president's office routinely accepts filings on behalf of the
Senate, she said.

It was unclear what happened afterward.

Clerical officials in the Senate could not say if they had received the
notification. An Internet search of the Congressional Record found no
reference to the regulation in Senate activities, although it was cited
among ``executive communications'' in the House on Feb. 1.

The 1996 Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the power to
overturn federal regulations, is little known so there were few
authorities on its workings.

According to the law, ``before a rule can take effect, the federal
agency promulgating such rule shall submit to each House of the
Congress'' a report that includes a copy of the rule. ``It is our belief
they cannot enact this rule until they go through the process required
by law,'' Conrad said in a statement. ``This is a good development.''

Among the reasons USDA believed it had satisfied the law, Harrison said,
was that the Senate recorded delivery of a regulation on the emerald
ashborer, a tree pest, in the Jan. 6 Congressional Record. A courier
delivered that document along with the Canada beef rule.

The United States halted Canadian cattle imports in late May 2003,
following Canada's discovery of its first native case of mad cow disease
or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Imports of some Canadian beef
resumed a few months later.

At the close of 2004, USDA unveiled its plan to reopen the border to
Canadian cattle less than 30 months old.

Conrad said the procedural problem was discovered when he and several
other senators tried to file a resolution on Thursday to void the USDA

A search of the Congressional Record by Internet on Friday found a
reference to the USDA rule among ``executive communications'' to the
House of Representatives but no similar mention in the Senate.

Earlier this week, the USDA bowed to pressure from U.S. meatpackers and
altered the rule to bar imports of beef from Canadian cattle older than
30 months. Meatpackers had complained it would be unfair to continue
barring older cattle from slaughter in U.S. plants while allowing Canada
to ship beef from animals in that age group.

The USDA estimates around 1 million head of Canadian cattle would be
sent to the United States annually, mostly for slaughter but some for

Ranch activists and their allies in Congress say they fear the risk of
BSE among Canadian cattle. Canada has reported three cases since 2003
and the United States, one. But there also was concern that an influx of
Canadian cattle will lower beef prices.

© 2005 Reuters

i doubt this delays anything.
there was already Canadian beef products brought in from Canada after
the ban, nothing was done about that. this should be no different.
this administration answers to no one. simple as that...


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