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Moran and Inhofe Introduce Legislation to Preserve Flint Hills

Will protect use of prescribed fire to preserve tallgrass prairie

May 16 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), recently introduced legislation, S. 989, the Flint Hills Preservation Act, to protect the ability of landowners in the Flint Hills to use prescribed fire as a tool to preserve the tallgrass prairie ecosystem.

“Rather than have to worry about a schedule dictated by the EPA, this legislation will allow landowners to manage prescribed burning around the forces of weather and other factors impacting safe conditions, while at the same time preserve a unique ecosystem,” Sen. Moran said.

“I am pleased to work with Senator Moran on this commonsense legislation that preserves the tallgrass prairie ecosystem in Oklahoma and Kansas and helps our agricultural communities manage their pastures,” said Sen. Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The EPA’s proposed action to limit burns fails to take into account the fact that they play a key role in the preservation of our tallgrass prairie ecosystem. EPA is pitting two separate and unrelated environmental issues against one another, putting our ecosystem at risk. This bill will provide a simple solution that balances our states’ environmental and economic needs.”

“We applaud Senator Moran’s initiative to correct a flaw in the Clean Air Act with this legislation,” said President Ken Grecian of the Kansas Livestock Association. “Prescribed burning in the Flint Hills is a proven, economical tool that protects and enhances the tallgrass prairie. Smoke that results from this practice should not cause regulatory compliance problems for our urban neighbors.”

The Flint Hills region of Kansas and Oklahoma contains the world’s largest share of remaining tallgrass prairie, and is the only place where that habitat exists in landscape proportions. Only 4 percent of North America’s pre-settlement tallgrass prairie survives to this day, and 80 percent is located in Kansas.

Each year, ranchers, landowners and conservation groups use prescribed fires to mimic the seasonal fires that have shaped the tallgrass prairie for thousands of years. Prescribed burning is an essential management practice for protecting the ecosystem, enhancing grazing land and reducing the chances of destructive wildfires, which occurred this year across the High Plains. Prescribed burning is also an important component in ranchland management. It helps ranchers keep pastures free from invasive species, like eastern red cedars, and leads to higher quality grass that increases weight gain in their cattle.

In recent years, a condensed timeframe for grassland burning has caused heightened air quality readings in Kansas City and Wichita. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking to regulate how and when landowners can burn in the Flint Hills region by asking the state of Kansas to develop a smoke management plan.

S. 989 recognizes that prescribed fires are necessary and a natural occurrence. It exempts landowners and local governments from liability under certain Clean Air Act standards if the EPA’s enforcement action is attributed to smoke from prescribed fires in the Flint Hills region.

Sen. Moran is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies.



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) released the following statement today on the United States government hitting its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit:

“Today our federal government reached its borrowing limit at $14.3 trillion. Now it’s up to Congress to decide whether to raise the debt ceiling for the eleventh time in the last decade.

“The hard truth is our country is broke. Our national debt is the responsibility of several Congresses and presidents – from both political parties – who have allowed us to live well beyond our means for far too long. Simply raising the debt limit without a serious plan to reduce our debt will only continue this pattern of fiscal irresponsibility.

“I have notified the President that I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without a significant reduction in spending and a change in the way business is done in Washington.This will take the leadership of President Obama and both political parties to craft a serious plan to reduce our debt. The plan must include significant spending reductions, a balanced budget amendment, and reforms to address our long-term unfunded liabilities.

“The time to correct our failures is now. The consequences of failing to tackle our debt will be far greater than failing to raise the debt ceiling. This is not an academic discussion. It is not a partisan discussion. This is about the future of our country, the standard of living Kansans enjoy, and whether or not there is an American dream to be lived by our children and grandchildren.”



Sen. Moran Appointed to Homeland Security Committee

Will work to protect American homeland

May 11 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) was appointed this week to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC), which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and broad oversight authority over federal government agencies.

“I extend a warm welcome to Senator Moran and look forward to his contributions to the Committee,” said Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Chairman of HSGAC. “Senator Moran will bring solid legislative experience to our deliberations as well as a deep connection to the nation’s heartland.”

“I look forward to working with Senator Moran, who brings a commonsense approach and a fresh point of view to the important issues under the Committee’s jurisdiction,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Ranking Member of HSGAC. “The Chairman and I share the Senator from Kansas’ commitment to our ongoing work on critical issues vital to our government and to our nation’s security.”

“I take seriously my role in fulfilling our government’s primary Constitutional responsibility – to keep Americans secure,” Sen. Moran said. “From strengthening our borders, guarding against terrorist attacks, and responding to natural disasters, I will work to better protect our country’s citizens from the threats we face.”

In addition to overseeing the Department of Homeland Security, the Committee investigates the efficiency of government operations, and the possible existence of fraud, waste, and improper expenditure of government funds.

“Far too often, taxpayer dollars are wasted on ineffective or duplicative government programs that our country can’t afford,” Sen. Moran said. “With the tremendous fiscal challenges facing our nation, I will work to make sure our federal agencies are operating in a cost-effective way and are held accountable to American taxpayers.”

Sen. Moran serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, in addition to the following Committees: Appropriations; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Veterans’ Affairs; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and the Special Committee on Aging.


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Air Force Selects Winning Bid for McConnell AFB Housing Project

Picerne Military Housing to manage and improve base’s military family housing

May 10 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced today the U.S. Air Force has selected Picerne Military Housing of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, to manage and improve the military family housing at McConnell Air Force Base (AFB). The project is part of the six-base Continental Group Housing Privatization Project. The purpose of the Air Force’s housing privatization program is to provide military families access to quality, affordable, well-maintained housing in a community on the installation where they may choose to live.

“McConnell’s airmen and women and their families will soon be assured the modern, quality housing they deserve,” Sen. Moran said. “I am pleased to see the Air Force taking the next step forward toward revitalizing McConnell’s community.”

When the deal closes in October 2011, the Air Force will convey to Picerne 441 homes at McConnell AFB and lease the underlying land for a period of 50 years. Picerne will then move forward with building 173 homes and renovating 191 homes. They will also build a neighborhood center with pool and other recreational/community facilities throughout the McConnell AFB housing areas.

Picerne Military Housing will provide all development, operations and maintenance, property management, construction, renovation and demolition services for the project. This is Picerne’s first Air Force housing privatization project, although they are a partner in the Army’s residential community initiative at Fort Riley and six other bases around the country. 

To date, the Air Force has awarded 27 projects at 44 installations for a total of 37,851 homes, or 70 percent of all Air Force housing within the continental United States and its territories. Within the next year, the Air Force will complete the privatization of 100 percent of all United States-based military housing.

In addition to McConnell AFB, the Continental Group Housing Privatization Project includes Edwards AFB in California; Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field in Florida; Eielson AFB in Alaska; and Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. The Air Force will initially convey 3,739 homes at the six installations, later convey 368 homes under construction at Eielson and Seymour Johnson AFBs, and lease the underlying land (approximately 2,425 acres) to each installation’s selected property manager for up to 50 years. 


Senators Roberts and Moran Announce USDA Disaster Designation for 21 Kansas Counties

Applaud Quick Response for Kansas Disaster Areas

May 10 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 21 counties in Kansas as natural disaster areas due to production losses caused by severe drought situations, wildfires, and high winds since the beginning of the year. 

“Kansas is facing one of the worst droughts since the Dust Bowl days,” said Roberts. “The lack of rainfall has had a devastating impact on the wheat crop in Kansas, and many farms are facing total crop loss. Ranchers in Kansas are also facing severe hardship due to a lack of available feed caused by the drought.  I applaud the USDA for acting quickly, and I am pleased that Kansans can now tap into vital USDA resources and begin to rebuild their farms, ranches and communities.”

“I am grateful Secretary Vilsack responded to our appeals for assistance,” Moran said. “During a time when producers are experiencing the devastating results of these acts of God, we did everything possible to ensure the USDA’s decision affecting their operations was made promptly. Farmers and ranchers in the affected counties are now eligible for USDA emergency loans, which will enable agricultural operations to continue across our state, in spite of the exceedingly dry conditions.”

USDA designated Finney, Gove, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Wallace and Wichita Counties as disaster counties.
Farmers and ranchers in the following 13 counties in Kansas also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous: Cheyenne, Clark, Decatur, Ellis, Ford, Graham, Gray, Hodgeman, Norton, Pawnee, Rawlins, Rush, and Trego.

These counties will now be eligible for important disaster programs, such as the emergency loan program administrated by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. These programs will help the farmers and ranchers of Kansas make it through one of the most difficult growing seasons on record.

Affected farmers should contact their local FSA office for more information:

Click here to read the text of the letter Moran sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 6, 2011.


Moran Leads Bipartisan Call for Swift Action in Africa's Great Lakes Region

Special Representative would coordinate comprehensive U.S. policy in war-torn region

May 10 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), along with a bipartisan group of 15 senators, has urged President Obama to swiftly appoint a Special Representative to better coordinate U.S. foreign policy in Africa’s Great Lakes region – an area plagued by instability, brutal violence and human rights abuses.

In a letter to the president, the senators point to the ongoing and brutal violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the regional threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as key reasons for this appointment. The DRC continues to be plagued by the systematic rape of women and girls in the context of an armed conflict financed largely by conflict minerals. The LRA continues to terrorize civilians and abduct children in the DRC, South Sudan and the Central African Republic – which has led to massive displacement.

In 2009, then-Congressman Moran sponsored the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Signed into law in 2010, the legislation called for the president to develop a strategy to support multilateral efforts to protect civilians and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA operating in the Great Lakes region.

A Special Representative to the Great Lakes region would coordinate with U.S. Ambassadors stationed in these and other affected countries to help make certain  the president’s strategy mandated by the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act is implemented. 

Click here to view the full text of the senator’s letter to President Obama.


Sen. Moran Urges USDA to Approve Disaster Designations

Designation would make Kansas producers eligible for emergency loans

May 06 2011

GARDEN CITY, KS – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today urged U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, to declare 21 Kansas counties agricultural disaster areas as a result of production losses caused by drought, wild fires, and high winds. Sen. Moran’s appeal supports a recent request made by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.

“As I travel throughout Kansas, I can see the devastating impact of the drought and wild fires,” Sen. Moran said. “By declaring these counties agricultural disaster areas, farmers and ranchers in the affected counties will become eligible for USDA emergency loans. This assistance will enable agricultural operations to continue across our state, in spite of the exceedingly dry conditions.”

The 21 counties included in Sen. Moran’s request are Finney, Gove, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Wallace, and Wichita.

In addition to his request for disaster designations, Sen. Moran notified Sec. Vilsack of the potential need to approve emergency grazing and haying on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in drought stricken areas. Sen. Moran asked that Sec. Vilsack quickly approve such requests when they arrive to supplement depleted forage sources for livestock producers.

Sen. Moran is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.

Click here to read the text of the letter.


Sen. Moran Shares Vision for Protecting Production Agriculture

Participated in Upson Lecture Series at Kansas Farm Bureau

May 05 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) delivered remarks in Manhattan on Thursday, April 28, 2011, about the vital importance of agriculture to Kansas, the country and the world as part of the Upson Lecture Series.   

“Our livelihood depends on agriculture – which feeds us, clothes us, and puts the roof above our heads,” Sen. Moran said. “As a U.S. Senator from a farm state, I often find myself educating my colleagues and other officials in Washington, D.C., about the importance of implementing policies that support this critical industry. This includes stopping harmful federal overregulation – including from the EPA – which is threatening the future of agriculture and our global competitiveness.”

The Upson Lecture Series is named after Dr. Dan Upson – a distinguished retired professor of Veterinary Medicine at K-State. The lecture series is hosted by a student-led organization at K-State, called “Food for Thought,” whose mission is to share agriculture’s story by educating consumers about the origins of the food and goods they enjoy each day. They pursue this through a variety of avenues, including the Upson Lecture Series, an educational farm tour program called Farm Tour Fridays, and by answering consumer questions at the grocery store with a program called Farm Fax.

Click here for a photo of Sen. Moran with members of Food for Thought. Pictured with Senator Moran from left to right: Barrett Smith, Tawnya Roenbaugh, Abby Jones, Brooks Butler, Brandon Harder, Chelsea Good, DJ Rezac, Kiley Stinson, Dr. Dan Upson, Clem Neely, Kyla Clawson, Miles Theurer, Tera Rooney and Dan Thomson. 



Sen. Moran to Obama: No Accountability, No Confirmation

Letter follows introduction of bill to ensure CFPB is both effective and accountable

May 05 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), along with 43 Senate colleagues, today notified President Obama that he will not confirm any nominee – regardless of party affiliation – to be the Director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) absent structural changes that will make the Bureau accountable to the American people. Under the Dodd-Frank financial regulation Act, the Director is given unfettered authority to regulate businesses that extend consumer credit. Although the Director will also have hundreds of millions of dollars of public money at his or her disposal, no checks and balances are provided on how it is spent. In light of these facts, the Senators sent today’s letter out of concern that such unchecked authority could be used for political purposes at the expense of access to credit, job creation, economic growth, and financial stability.

In the letter, the Senators call for three specific, commonsense reforms to the Bureau’s structure:

  • Replace the single Director with a board to oversee the Bureau. This would prevent a single person from dominating the Bureau and provide a critical check on the Bureau’s authority. 
  • Subject the Bureau to the Congressional appropriations process. This would provide oversight and accountability to the American people on how public money is spent. 
  • Establish a safety-and-soundness check for the prudential financial regulators, who oversee the safety and soundness of financial institutions. This would help ensure that excessive regulations do not needlessly cause bank failures.

President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law on July 21, 2010. Although Democrats heralded the Bureau as the centerpiece of their legislation, the President has yet to nominate a Director. 

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.), a lead signatory on the letter made the following statement: “The CFPB as created by the deeply-flawed Dodd-Frank Act is set to be one of the least accountable and most powerful agencies in Washington. Today’s letter delivers a commitment by 44 Republican Senators to fix the poorly-thought structure of this agency that will have unprecedented reach and control over individual consumer decisions – but an unprecedented lack of oversight and accountability. The reforms outlined are necessary before we will consider any nominee to head this agency.”

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Ranking Republican on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and also a lead signatory on the letter, issued the following statement: “This is about accountability. The Bureau, as currently structured, lacks any semblance of the checks and balances inherent in the Constitution. Everyone supports consumer protection, but we should never entrust a single person with this much power and public money. We are simply asking the President to support common sense reforms that provide the accountability absent in the current structure.”

Senator Jerry Moran, who has filed legislation that would enact reforms contained in the letter, made the following remarks: “Allowing a single unelected bureaucrat to define their own jurisdiction and regulate vast segments of our economy without accountability or restraint is a ‘reform’ that should be rejected. My commonsense legislation brings a variety of perspectives to the Bureau and gives Congress the oversight authority required for such a powerful agency. We stand ready to work with the president to make certain the CFPB is both effective and accountable.”

Senator Moran’s legislation, S. 737, the Responsible Consumer Financial Protection Regulations Act of 2011, would replace the single CFPB Director with a Senate-confirmed five-person commission – similar to the leadership structure of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It would also subject the CFPB to the regular appropriations process like most federal agencies. Senator Moran is a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Click here to see the full text of the letter.

Click here to view the full text of S. 737.