WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-1) issued the following statement following his appointment as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies subcommittee. Federal departments funded through this subcommittee’s annual appropriations bill include the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Farm Credit Administration. Dr. Harris, a Republican, has served on the Appropriations Committee since 2013 and has served on this subcommittee since 2015.
Congressman Harris issued the following statement:
"It is an honor to be named Chairman of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies subcommittee. Agriculture is both a critical sector in our country’s economy, and the economic backbone of Maryland's First Congressional District. Additionally, as a physician, I am excited for the opportunity to work with the FDA to ensure the safety and efficacy of the latest developments in drug and medical device research, as well as food safety. I look forward to the important work we will do in the coming months as we address the many issues in this subcommittee’s jurisdiction.”
Additionally, full committee Chairwoman Kay Granger issued the following statement:
“I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Dr. Andy Harris to serve as chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, the Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies. Dr. Harris served this subcommittee as acting ranking member, and I am confident that his knowledge of the agriculture economy and his background as a physician will be important assets as he leads it forward in our new Congress.”
In one of his first acts on the subcommittee, Rep. Harris called for the suspension of windmill construction, until it is proved that the work does not cause whale deaths. In a statement released Jan. 19, he said, “"Following the death of yet another whale, this time on Assateague Island, I am calling for an immediate moratorium on windmill construction and related underwater geotechnical testing until it is definitively proven that this construction and testing are not the cause of the repeated whale deaths.
“NOAA has offered zero evidence that this construction, including geotechnical testing, is not the cause of death. I am also calling for a full and transparent release of necropsy results, including the necropsy results of the whale ear structures which should be removed for examination to determine whether sonar actively contributed to the cause of death.
“Even a vessel strike is still consistent with injury from seismic testing as that testing may interfere with the whale’s hearing and senses - some think causing long lasting damage. We need to take the time to gather proper scientific data, act in full transparency, and not rely upon FAQ platitudes for these projects, their construction, and the impact they may have upon our environment. Until such actions occur, I am calling for a complete shutdown of windmill construction.”