Washington D.C. was described this week by one veteran lawmaker as "17 square miles of logic-free environment."
That's an opinion likely shared by some environmentalists out West. The House on Thursday rejected an amendment by three Western lawmakers that would have required some farmers in the arid Klamath Basin to grow only crops needing little irrigation. It was the latest round in the long-running war between farmers, fisheries, environmentalists and Native Americans over water rights.
Throughout the West, environmental battles are being waged on the local, state and federal level. Another of those battles was advanced this week through the justice system.
A federal appeals court this week denied a petition filed by California farmers who wanted to delay federal rules regulating agribusiness air pollution.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the attempt by the California Farm Bureau to seek a review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules.
Until this week's ruling, California farmers had been exempt from needing pollution permits having to control fumes generated by fuel-powered irrigation pumps and managing the amount of methane gas from animal waste.
Environmentalists who joined EPA in defending the lawsuit said the ruling will ensure that California farmer upgrade their equipment to comply with the tougher standards.
The Farm Bureau had sued EPA last October, alleging the pollution control measures could cost its 87,000 California members tens of thousands of dollars.
Backers of the new regulations say there are many sources of funding available to farmers to help them offset increased costs.