Attorney General Candidate Pledges ‘Push Back’ To EPA On Agriculture Regulations
Brian Buescher admits that when it comes to the issues, little separates himself with the other three Republican candidates – Mike Hilgers, Doug Peterson, Pete Pirsch – for Nebraska Attorney General. There’s a big difference, however, he says in experience.
All four lawyers, for instance, pledge to aggressively prosecute criminals, protect the unborn and limit spending and government. Buescher, though, says he’s the right candidate to fight the Federal Government against intrusive regulations imposed on Nebraska farmers. That’s the main reason he’s running for the office.
“We need to push back on regulations now,” he said Friday, in a campaign stop in Falls City. “It’s not the only issue, but it’s my focus. I have an extensive ag background and that’s going to help me.”
The 39-year-old Omaha lawyer grew up on a farm near Deweese, NE (population 67). After graduating valedictorian of Sandy Creek High School near Fairfield, Buescher attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he graduated Chancellor’s Scholar. Buescher then attended Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics and vice president of a student body of approximately 1500.
At the conclusion of his legal education, he returned to his home state of Nebraska to practice law. Buescher currently leads the agribusiness litigation team at Nebraska’s largest law firm, Kutak Rock LLP, where he represents farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and other businesses in a variety of complex matters—including matters involving Federal Government intrusion in the rights of farmers and businesses beyond that allowed by law.
Buescher’s specific regulatory target is the Chesapeake Bay litigation, where the American Farm Bureau Federation and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau have sued the Environmental Protection Agency. In this litigation, AFBF and PFB, along with several other ag-related parties, including the National Corn Growers Association, the Pork Producers Council and the Fertilizer Institute, seek to prevent the EPA from implementing a watershed pollution control plan.
Plaintiffs argue that the EPA exceeded the authority granted to it under the Clean Water Act.
Buescher said that EPA regulations concerning the Chesapeake Bay could greatly impact agriculture throughout the country, including Nebraska.
“When the EPA issues regulations, they don’t just apply to one area,” he said. If the regulations are imposed in Chesapeake Bay, Buescher said, the EPA could potentially “tell farmers they couldn’t farm when the wind blows,” or farm their fields during a storm.
“They could tell us how much fertilizer to use, when to use it and how to apply it,” he said. “This is why I’m running – If we don’t stop this, it could hurt farming badly. I think the regulations are unnecessary and not allowed under federal law.”
Buescher has served as the Chairman of both the Agricultural Law and Environmental Law Sections of the Nebraska Bar Association. He is also active in the American Agricultural Law Association and has been a frequent presenter at conferences relating to various aspects of Agricultural Law.
Buescher has never held public office and noted that by leaving his position at Kutak Rock to be Attorney General would result in a big pay cut.
But, he said, “we need someone there to fight the fight on the behalf of rural Nebraskans,” he said. “I’m the only candidate who’s sued the federal government. I’ve represented farmers, ranchers, and ag interests in matters that directly relate to what the attorney general does when it comes to regulation and over regulation. I have been up against the EPA, I have been up against the National Park Service and the interior department and the soil conservation service. I understand what Nebraska faces.”
Buescher previously served as a misdemeanor prosecutor at the Douglas County Attorney’s office where he prosecuted domestic violence offenses. In 2012, Buescher was appointed by Gov. Dave Heineman to serve as the legal profession representative on the Nebraska State Records Board.
Buescher also touched on the state’s overcrowding prisons problem and said, if elected, he’d push to limit the “good time” law for violent offenders and in turn release non-violent offenders under intesive probation and tracking devises.
“There would be less recidivism, hence less crime,” he said. Buescher quoted Platte Institute statistical information that finds probation is half as expensive as incarceration. And, according to Platte, non-violent offenders make up more than half of Nebraska’s prison population.
“I believe we could actually decrease the prison population,” he said.
Though he’s never held office, Buescher is no stranger to politics. He is the former Chairman of the Douglas County GOP and has been a delegate to the past two Republican National Conventions.
“I’ve spent a lot of time assisting other candidates,” he said.
Brian and his wife Elaine have four children: Alexander (9), Elizabeth (6), Catherine (4), and Anna (2).