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Influential US politician suggests scrapping agricultural inspection fees

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Louise Slaughter, Chairperson of the House Rules Committee, yesterday commended the US Dep...

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Louise Slaughter, Chairperson of the House Rules Committee, yesterday commended the US Department of Agricultures Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for delaying implementation of its costly new inspection fees for Canadian trucks crossing into the US.

The fees, slated to take effect for all truck shipments in March, have been delayed until June.

“I’m glad that the Department of Agriculture is starting to see the need to rethink this initiative,” Slaughter said in a release. “I’ve opposed the blanket imposition of new fees and new inspections on all trucks entering the US from Canada since it was proposed last fall. It is a heavy-handed response to a narrow problem, and would increase congestion at the Peace Bridge and Lewiston Bridge. I encourage the Department of Agriculture to allow a joint US-Canada working group to develop workable solutions rather than moving forward with this flawed idea.”

Slaughter has been on the record as opposing the plan since it was first announced. In September, 2006 she wrote to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to voice her concerns.

“We must take targeted steps to protect US agriculture from pests and disease,” Rep. Slaughter said at the time. “However, a broad user fee will not only fail to protect US crops, it will also severely hinder international commerceWe can have both security and commerce, but only if we promote policies that strengthen the security of the supply chain, and focus (Customs and Border Protection’s) limited resources on screening high-risk shipments. This interim rule fails on both fronts.”

Slaughter has also voiced her distaste for the US Western Hemisphere Trade Initiative, which would require all Canadians entering the US to carry a passport.

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