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EPA Attempts to Set the Record Straight

December 5, 2013
By: Boyce Thompson, AgWeb.com Editorial Director google + 
FJ Forum 2013 Agritalk
AgriTalk host Mike Adams (center) discusses regulations with EPA ag counselor Sarah Bittleman and Jack Bobo, lead biotechnology advisor for the State Department.  

A high-ranking government agriculture official answered a wide range of sometimes volatile questions related to EPA’s regulation of agriculture.

Mike Adams, the host of AgriTalk, today treated the Farm Journal Forum 2013 audience to a live interview with Sarah Bittleman, senior agricultural counselor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Jack Bobo, senior advisor for biotechnology for the U.S. State Department.

The broadcast covered everything from climate change to environmental regulations.

Listen to the full AgriTalk broadcast:

Here’s an abbreviated version of Adam’s questions and Bittleman’s responses.

Q: How do we get past a confrontational relationship between agriculture and the EPA?

A: "A lot of it has to do with constant, consistent communication," said Bittleman. "We share common goals—cleaner air, water and land. We need to find a common language."

Q: The comment period for lowering the ethanol mandate opened today. Also, a public hearing is taking place in Arlington, Va. How open is the comment period?

A: "It’s an honest-to-goodness proposed rule," said Bittleman, adding that EPA put out an "honest-to-goodness solicitation of comments."

EPA, she said, needs as much real-time information as possible. "It’s not a numbers game of how many people show up [for hearings]," she said. "It’s a matter of how do we take the data [that we receive] and put it together to make a final rule."

Q: How quickly will EPA act to finalize the proposal at the end of the comment period?

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