Friday, September 4, 2009

EPA Visits a Farm

EPA Officials Make Their First Trip to Farm Country
NAFB Newws Service

Thursday is the day Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley hosts officials from the Environmental Protection Agency in his home state of Iowa. Grassley asked the EPA to come to Iowa for a first-hand look at family farming, after learning that the government official who heads the department writing the guidelines for - “indirect land use changes” - has never set foot on an American farm. Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at EPA, and Margo Oge, Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at EPA, are the Senators guests.

The daylong tour, in an area near Des Moines, Iowa, begins with an information session to discuss low carbon fuel standards, corn and soybean technology, and EPA’s AgSTAR program. The group will then move to a family farm to learn about the work farmers are doing to produce safe, quality products in an environmentally friendly manner. Last, the group will visit the Renewable Energy Group’s facility in Newton for a tour and an overview and update from the ethanol and biodiesel industries.

In preparing for the day, Senator Grassley said, "The EPA has tremendous power and authority, and the decisions it makes on several issues will have a major impact on the rural economy, from the family farm to opportunities in value-added agriculture industries, including renewable energy." According to Grassley, "It is absolutely essential that the government officials in charge understand the issues and the impact of their rules, regulations and directives." Link

The only disconnect that might be wider than rural and urban is probably between Washington DC and the rest of the country. Sen Grassley pointed out to the country that we had EPA employees writing regulations about things they had never even seen and that could devastate farming families. If the healthcare and cap & trade debates have done anything, they have reminded people how important it is to be involved in our political process. I remember meeting with EPA officials in Washington several years ago when they were writing CAFO regulations. The lady we were dealing with that day didn’t realize that grass didn’t grow year-round. This is why we must all step up and become part of the solution.

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