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24 October 2010 - E.P.A. Out of Control

Last week I talked about issues that you, as agricultural voters, should consider when you go to the polls Nov. 2nd. I mentioned rules being proposed by the E.P.A., the Environmental Protection Agency. I heard from some of you who wanted to know more about the E.P.A. proposals.

So, I turned to Gary Baise, the top agricultural environmental attorney based in Washington, D.C., who spends his time defending farmers and ranchers in environmental lawsuits. Here are the issues that concern him and should concern you.

There is a new Solid Waste definition scheduled for early next year that will include on-farm incineration units, animal crematories, disposal of animals and agricultural waste.

E.P.A. is coming up with new stationary engine regulations which will regulate existing diesel engines that are larger than 500 horsepower.

E.P.A. is seeking information so it can regulate bioenergy/biogenic emissions to determine greenhouse gas emissions from those sources.

E.P.A. has informed U.S.D.A. that it is likely to change the standards for ground level ozone because E.P.A. is concerned not only about ozone's effect on people, but also on sensitive trees and plants.

To me, the most dangerous of new rules. . . the PM 10 or dust standards. E.P.A. is taking into account a new expanded body on thoracic-coarse-particle health evidence which surely suggests a tightening of the dust standard impacting agriculture. Observing the dust clouds surrounding combines in this year's harvest, there is no way you can keep that dust from leaving your property and blowing into a nearby housing development. Yet, I'm sure there are people at E.P.A. who think this can be done.

This is not a partisan fight. Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, recently expressed her concern about E.P.A.'s intrusions such as "unworkable spray-drift pesticide regulations; proposed ambient air quality standards that would impose impossible dust reduction requirements on farmers; wetlands regulations that put even bone-dry areas off-limits to agriculture use and idealogical bias toward environmentalists when resolving Clean Water Act lawsuits."

I feel the E.P.A. should not be allowed to put these rules in place without Congressional oversight, that obviously is not there now. I hope this answers your questions and I urge you to vote for members of Congress who feel the same way.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.