With the start of a new congress and with policy action from AFBF and other organizations, the EPA will have few friends over the next few years. Politico reports this morning that the EPA is desperate for friends in the Senate. With a large number of new House members pledging to limit the EPA’s authority on everything from GHG to pesticide regulation, the Senate is the final refuge for an agency attempting to implement environmental policy through executive fiat.
Politico also notes that a “group of Senate Democrats intends to hold weekly meetings to discuss plans to fend off attacks on the EPA, said Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). The meetings will center on ‘protecting the public, to make sure that they don’t do anything to weaken the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act; to make sure that they don’t stop the states from their work in protecting the public from carbon and other pollutants.’”
So far, at least 56 Senators would support measures to limit the EPA’s rulemaking authority under the Clean Air Act. This leaves EPA opponents in the Senate four votes short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster of the oversight legislation.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R- Mich.) is eager to take on the EPA in his committee. He has said that he looks forward to giving the EPA a permanent parking spot at the capitol in order to attend his committee meetings.
In addition, delegates to the 2011 AFBF Annual Meeting approved a resolution calling for more congressional oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory actions.
“EPA’s regulatory reach continues to metastasize at the expense of our ability to produce food, fiber and fuel, and EPA often does not recognize the contributions that farmers and ranchers have made to reduce soil loss and produce more with less land, water, nutrients and other inputs,” said Stallman. “We need more common sense and less negativity toward production agriculture in the enforcement of the nation’s existing environmental statutes.”
AFBF announced on Jan. 10, during the annual meeting, that it was filing a federal lawsuit to halt the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay pollution regulatory plan. AFBF said that the agency overreached by setting up a plan for the entire 64,000 square-mile Chesapeake watershed, usurped state control, relied on faulty data and failed to account for agriculture’s contributions to improving water quality, and provided insufficient information and time for the public to check EPA’s actions.