Political briefs – Aug. 3


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BROWN AND PORTMAN APPLAUD U.S. WIN IN TRADE ENFORCEMENT CHALLENGE TO CHINA’S DUTIES ON STEEL – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) welcomed the announcement from U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (USTR) that the United States has prevailed in a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge to China’s compliance actions following WTO findings in 2012, that China’s duties on high-tech steel were inconsistent with WTO rules – duties that contributed to over $250 million in annual export losses for American steel exporters.

“Strong enforcement of our trade laws lifts up Ohio companies and levels the playing field,” said Brown. “This announcement will help America’s steel industry – including AK Steel and its dedicated workforce – compete in our global economy.”

“Manufacturing exports are vital to Ohio workers, and this win will provide a boost to Ohio steel producers like AK Steel,” said Portman. “I will continue to support efforts to ensure that our workers are able to operate on a level playing field around the world.”

WITH GROWING THREAT OF HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS, BROWN URGES AGRICULTURE SECRETARY TO TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO HELP IMPROVE WATER QUALITY IN LAKE ERIE – With another large algal bloom in Lake Erie developing this summer, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN), members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to develop a comprehensive strategy to help communities improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB).

The senators also called on Secretary Vilsack to release additional Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funding to aid farmers wanting to plant cover crops. Following months of significant rain in portions of the watershed, tens of thousands of acres went unplanted this year. With the additional funding, more farmers can use EQIP funding to plant cover crops, helping reduce potential runoff.

“In order to address these important issues, we must take comprehensive actions now that fully engage all stakeholders,” the letter stated. “We recognize that reducing the frequency and magnitude of harmful algal blooms is a long-term problem that requires a long-term solution, but that does not reduce the urgency of taking aggressive action in the near-term.”

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