Influence Analytics: Is that honey with your apples up to standard?


Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year celebration that features apples and honey on the menu, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the comment period for those who wish to speak up about whether there should be what’s called an “identity standard” for honey — basically, a definition of what constitutes “honey” that can be used to distinguish between the genuine article and adulterated versions. So far, the agency has received some 60 comments, including a number from beekeeper associations and agricultural academics in support of such a standard. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., have spoken up in favor as well. Comments are now due Oct. 19. Bonus: Here’s apples v. honey as mentioned by members of Congress on the floor. (Credit: Scout, Docket Wrench, Capitol Words.)

Sporting senators to EPA: Keep your hands off our lead bullets. As we reported last week, the use of lead bullets by hunters has been connected in scientific studies with lead poisoning in the endangered California condor. A popular tactic in recent years for embattled Democrats in the Senate hoping to prove their hunter-friendly bona fides in an election has been to sponsor legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from banning lead bullets under the Toxic Substances Control Act. This year Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., sponsored the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, S. 2363, which contains the language. Other vulnerable Democrats who also signed on include Sens. Mark Udall, Colo.Mark Pryor, Ark.Mark Begich, Alaska; Mary Landrieu, La.; and Tim Johnson, S.D. The Senate, however, in July voted 41 to 56 against cloture on the legislation; it had become a magnet for a host of amendments on gun policy and conservation. (Credit: OpenCongress, Influence Explorer.)

Meanwhile, at the EPA. The Sportsmen’s Act provision is a response to efforts by environmental groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, to convince the Environmental Protection Agency to ban lead ammunition under laws regulating toxics. The Center first petitioned the EPA in Aug. 2010; just a few weeks later, in a terse, three-paragraph-long letter, the agency denied the petition, claiming that it had no authority to take such action. According to Docket Wrench, during this period, the agency logged nearly 6,500 comments from the public; analysis shows that a large portion came from commenters opposed to the ban. One cluster of letters, for example, included language identical to this alert sent out by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which has joined the National Rifle Association in opposing bans on lead ammunition. However, in 2012, the Center submitted a new petition. The EPA again denied it, although this time with a more detailed response. The Center appealed the issue to federal court. (Credit: Docket Wrench.)

And in the states. A pair of bills were introduced in the Rhode Island legislature this year that would have required nontoxic ammunition — that is, non-lead — be used in hunting. It got no further than a hearing in the House, where gun groups were a heavy presence, according to EcoRI News. (Credit: OpenStates)