Farm Bureau Has Harsh Words for EPA at Congressional Hearing

May 19, 2016 12:26 PM
water iowa

The American Farm Bureau Federation wasted no time at a May 18 hearing by the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency for shaky science around the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and the embattled Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

“No farmer can legitimately comprehend and respond to the reams of academic analyses that have been produced through these meetings and continue to perform the tasks needed to run his or her farm business,” says Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert, who adds that even after 34 years of farming, he doesn’t understand EPA’s “science.”

Ebert also accused EPA of spreading false information about family farm operations, painting farmers as villains that impair water quality. Those accusations are in conflict with U.S. Geological Survey data, which shows positive gains on water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, he says.

Part of the problem is that federal regulations have become overly complex but also vulnerable to the whims of public opinion, according to Florida Farm Bureau member Kate English.

“A farmer shouldn’t have to have a lawyer and an engineer on staff to grow food,” she says. “The [WOTUS] rule not only expands the regulatory footprint for farming and increases the certainty we battle daily, but it also lacks peer-reviewed sound science. These regulations appear instead to be based on public opinion and social media trends rather than facts and science.”

The result is an unpredictable regulatory environment where compliance becomes a moving target rather than a “rational, science-based goal,” she says.

The EPA has already caught heat from other agricultural groups earlier this year after the agency:

Do you think the latest Farm Bureau criticisms of the EPA are fair or unwarranted? Weigh in on the comments section.

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Spell Check

AgWeb Editor
Mexico, MO
5/24/2016 07:32 AM

  Some of the comments on this article were deleted because they were not in line with AgWeb’s code of conduct. Comments insulting any person or groups of people are not permitted on this site, and will be removed as they are discovered.

Senior PA Dairy Farmer
Westfield, PA
5/19/2016 03:44 PM

  Of course Farm Bureau's criticisms are fair. For years, too many farmers and ranchers have been left without advocacy to live the nightmare unleashed on rural America by EPA and their minions from the enviro lobby. The chilling tyranny imposed by the environmental "compliance" age that does, unfortunately, as Ms. English highlights, require “…a lawyer and an engineer…” to protect farmers from impending fines and penalties just trying to operate their farms, no matter the size or management style, is perverse. But who gave us EPA? Who is ultimately responsible for allowing EPA’s baseless, capricious overreach to threaten private property and other Constitutional liberties in the name of "science" and the "common good" if not the very elected officials in both parties, including those who sit on the Ag Committees and walk the halls of Congress? And don't forget that there are states, like PA, where the state environmental regs are no less intrusive, financially crippling, abstruse, and Constitutionally questionable than those stemming from the EPA and actually do exceed what even EPA required during the "Save the Bay" negotiations with the individual "Bay states." Even if EPA is pushed back and put in its proper place to actually check out real pollution threats, like lead in city water supplies, and it is long overdue to do so, the various state regs, if not also reformed, will continue “enforcement” of the same agenda that underpins EPA’s outrageous environmental program policies. If what we as farmers routinely must face today had been the regulatory "scheme" 200 years ago, we would not have become the great nation we once were before this current age of rampant regulatory overreach and legislative insanity ruined us. May God deliver us from all these fools in government, both bureaucratic and elected.

David King
San Antonio, TX
5/19/2016 07:06 PM

  Ms English is absolutely on point. The lack of pear review allows the EPA to create and enforce arbitrary regulations. Through the use of personal email they circumvented the law and excccluded the coal industry stake holders. The EPA is also attempting to withdraw the registration of products with no proof of danger other than the pseudoscience they have used to base registrations on politics and public opinion. Business needs a predictable and rational government to allow it to operate. Citizens need rational government that doesn't make decisions based on popular whims.


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