Thursday, January 13, 2011

Can the EPA Unite Republicans and Democrats?

Over the past few years, I’ve spent a great deal of time calling attention to the absurd actions and attitudes of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s track record of policy implementation continues to be detrimental to production agriculture. The high costs to the American taxpayer of these seemingly endless mandates are evident – while the benefits to that citizen are obscure at best.

I have formally expressed the concerns of Texans and requested relief in many areas from the administrator of the EPA, members of congress and the president. I also have joined other Texas officials and those from around the nation in asking the courts to intervene. The challenge is not over and I remain committed to using common sense policies and sound science as the best guidance in making decisions to protect and improve the environment.

I know some may think my objections are based on my party affiliation, but this is clearly one case where political agendas should take a back seat to the common good. For the skeptics out there, I thought I would share this excerpt from the Jan. 6, 2011 Agri-pulse Newsletter, which recounts an interview with outgoing House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).

One area where Peterson expects Republicans and Democrats to cooperate is in oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His staff is developing a paper that will outline ideas for getting the agency under control. “The EPA is totally out of control in my opinion, and they have caused all kinds of problems in the Chesapeake Bay with the way they’ve approached this (water pollution proposal).” Peterson insists the agency mandates suggest, “a bunch of ideological people taking an approach that you’re going to punish people instead of try to work with them. In agriculture that never works, so you’ve got to find a way to work with farmers and fit into their operation. There are a lot of areas in the EPA that they need to be reined in big time.”

Maybe Peterson is right. As unintended as it might be, the EPA may just unite Republicans and Democrats like never before. For the sake of our jobs, economy, food production, food security and our future, let's hope so.

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