WASHINGTON, July 23, 2014 – Sen. Pat Roberts told EPA chief Gina McCarthy yesterday that many of the people he represents in Kansas believe the Environmental Protection Agency has an “anti-agriculture agenda” that is hurting the state’s economy.
Roberts, a Republican and the senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said for Kansans, there’s a long list of EPA initiatives which together amount to “an assault on our way of life.” They include the agency’s efforts to regulate fuel storage tanks, pesticides, coal power and water resources.
Roberts said the conversation with McCarthy took place yesterday when she met with Senate Agriculture Committee Republicans. In a news release, Roberts said he expressed frustration that the agency had recently dismissed farmers’ concerns regarding the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rules as “myths.”
“Just two weeks ago, you were in Missouri to meet with producers regarding the proposed Waters of the United States regulation,” Roberts said, according to the release. “Farmers and ranchers had hoped they would be able to persuade you to recognize the far-reaching and negative impacts of the proposed and interpretive rules, but the reports back have not been positive,” Roberts said. “To hear that their concerns were categorized as ‘silly’ or ‘ludicrous’ is truly frustrating.”
Roberts noted that he has cosponsored and voted for legislation to prevent the EPA from finalizing the rule.
EPA Press Secretary Liz Purchia said McCarthy appreciated the meeting with the senators, which provided the agency with an opportunity to “hear directly from the people about the proposed rule.” And she noted that the comment period on the proposal is still open and has been extended until October.
“We know that know that no one understands the importance of water quality better than the agriculture community,” Purchia said in an e-mail response for comment. “They are the standard-bearer for stewardship of our nation’s land and water, while growing a farm economy that’s the envy of the world.”
McCarthy, she said, “believes and has said, we don’t have to sacrifice sensible environmental protections for a strong farm economy.”
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