The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was the target of some very harsh criticism at a forum in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.
The event, which was hosted by the GOP-sponsored Rural America Solutions Group, was entitled “The EPA’s Assault on Rural America”. One of those testifying was Tamara Thies, chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Thies accused the EPA of, in her words, “waging an unprecedented war to end modern production of animal agriculture.
Thies cited several examples of EPA’s over-regulation, including its proposal to regulate dust. She says under such rules, farmers and ranchers could be fined for everyday activities like driving a tractor down a dirt road or tilling a field.
Rep. Doc Hastings (R- Wash.) said EPA’s authority over rural communities has significantly expanded under the Obama administration. “Proposed rules and bills that impose the federal government’s reach on mud puddles, irrigation canals and driveways have left some wondering whether EPA really stands for ‘Eliminate Private Agriculture.’”
Hastings said EPA officials were invited to the forum, but none attended. “This is unfortunate since it is EPA’s failure to listen and learn that got us here in the first place. Policies on a desk at EPA’s headquarters or in the halls of Congress may look great on paper, but could have terrible and unnecessary consequences when implemented in the real world,” he said.
Wednesday’s forum comes on the heels of last week’s Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, at which EPA administrator Lisa Jackson was grilled by Senators from both parties. It also follows a letter to the EPA signed by 75 congressmen in opposition to its proposed dust rules.