Eight GOP members of the House Agriculture Committee are calling for a hearing with the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the nation’s pesticide law.
In a letter to committee Chair David Scott, D-Ga., Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., and seven other panel members categorize EPA as “an agency that has historically overregulated the agriculture industry.” They also note that Michael Regan, who was confirmed as EPA’s administrator in March 2021, has yet to appear before the committee.
“It is the responsibility of the House Committee on Agriculture to conduct proper oversight of laws, programs, and agencies within our jurisdiction, and we believe a public hearing to review recent actions by the EPA is long overdue,” they say.
In addition to Thompson, the letter is also signed by Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., Jim Baird, R-Ind., Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn., Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., Austin Scott, R-Ga., Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., and Don Bacon, R-Neb.
The letter specifically references the agency’s actions governing key agricultural inputs under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. They say EPA has “weaponized” the FIFRA process “against American farmers to placate a ‘cancel culture’ of pesticides and curry favor with extremist groups.”
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“The Biden EPA has already made steps towards restricting or canceling chlorpyrifos, Enlist, glyphosate, atrazine, sulfoxaflor, DCPA, diuron, organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and many more,” they write. “This has eroded public trust in the regulatory process and is undermining confidence in the scientific integrity of the EPA.”
The Biden administration EPA has indeed taken action on a long list of agricultural inputs as the letter suggests, most recently a proposal to restrict atrazine use due to concerns about impacts on aquatic plants. Farm groups have regularly expressed concern at the various actions taken, citing the desire to manage weeds through chemical means rather than tillage practices.
The letter asks for Regan’s appearance to be scheduled before the end of September.
Spokespersons for Scott did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did representatives from the EPA.
Should Regan appear before the committee, he would join other EPA administrators who testified before the committee, including a pair of Obama administration appointees. Former Administrator Lisa Jackson appeared before the committee in 2011, as did Gina McCarthy in 2016. Trump administration agency heads Scott Pruitt and Andrew Wheeler did not make scheduled appearances before the panel.
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