Pavese Law Firm partner and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) member Katherine English testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry on the impacts of environmental regulations and voluntary conservation solutions. English, an environmental permitting attorney, spoke about the costs of conservation compliance in accordance with the farm bill, and the myriad of federal environmental regulations imposed upon Florida agriculture. English’s complete statement can be found on www.FB.org.
English’s testimony focused on the issues of increasing complexity, expense of compliance, lack of science-based decision-making, and lack of partnership with the federal government.
“There exists a widening chasm between the demands imposed on farmers by regulatory compliance, supplier and consumer requirements, and our ability to meet these obligations while remaining profitable enough to continue producing the fresh, nutritious food that we all take for granted,” English stated in her testimony. “You shouldn’t need a lawyer and an engineer in order to farm.”
English went on to call attention to the expense of compliance and the need to provide sufficient time to evaluate if these approaches are capable of succeeding.
“We have tools that will work which do not require pyramiding local, state and federal regulation on farmers who are working hard to protect their most basic tool and greatest investment, their land,” English said. “We must use reasonable, economically feasible approaches and allow those approaches time to work. We cannot survive ever-mounting regulation and ever mounting costs of compliance when the benefits of those regulations and costs do not result in meaningful improvement.”
English joined Pavese Law Firm in 1994 and became a partner in 2000. She has extensive agricultural experience. Before entering law school, she worked as a field representative for a citrus grower’s cooperative, and she continues to be involved in her family’s farming operations. English is experienced in surface water management, water use and private property rights, including federal environmental permitting and compliance in regard to the Clean Water Act, the Food Security Act and the Endangered Species Act. During her legal career, she has practiced before a variety of government agencies including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southwest Florida Water Management District, South Florida Water Management District, Army Corps of Engineers, United States Department of Agriculture, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. English is a member of the American Bar Association and the Lee County Bar Association.
In addition, to serving as chair of the AFBF’s Issue Advisory Committee on Water and Water Quality, English also serves on: The Florida Farm Bureau Association’s Natural Resources Advisory Committee; past president and member of the board of the directors for the University of Florida Leadership and Education Foundation Inc.; a member of the board of directors for Redlands Christian Migrant Association; chair of the membership committee for SHARE Council for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences; and a member of the board of directors for United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades counties.
Pavese Law Firm is a full-service law firm with offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and West Palm Beach. The firm provides a broad range of legal services for individuals, families, small businesses and large corporations. Practice areas include agricultural, banking and finance, bankruptcy, business and taxation, civil litigation, community association, employment, environmental and water, estate planning, probate and trust, family, land use and government, and real estate law. Established in 1949 as a one-person general practice firm, Pavese Law Firm has grown into one of the largest legal practices in Southwest Florida. With a long history of service to Southwest Florida, Pavese Law Firm has played a significant role in the growth of local businesses, communities and major development projects. For more information, visit www.paveselaw.com.