NCBA takes on EPA during forum

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – During a forum in Washington, D.C., focused on the impact of Environmental Protection Agency regulations on job creation and economic expansion in America’s rural communities, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Tamara Thies told members of Congress in attendance the “EPA is waging an unprecedented war” to end animal agriculture production.

Entitled “The EPA’s Assault on Rural America: How New Regulations and Proposed Legislation are Stifling Job Creation and Economic Growth,” the forum, was hosted by US Representatives Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), and Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), co-chairs of the Rural America Solutions Group.

“EPA exhibits reckless indifference to scientific fact and, instead, imposes stringent regulations based on nothing more than its biased, anti-animal agriculture agenda that will leave many cattle operations with no recourse but to shut down and eliminate jobs,” Thies said. “It is ironic that as we work to become less dependent on foreign oil, Obama policies are likely to make us more dependent on foreign beef. Maybe we’ll need to start a strategic hamburger reserve after the Obama Administration is finished with us.”

Examples of EPA regulations that could potentially stifle the US cattle industry were discussed by Thies. She said the EPA has laid the foundation to impose the “most stringent regulation of dust in US history.” She was referring to EPA’s draft policy assessment on particulate matter (dust) released in June, which calls for regulations twice as stringent as the current standard.

“Incredibly, we are talking about dust kicked up by tilling fields and harvesting crops, cattle movements and pickups driving down dirt roads. For agriculture, the current standard is already very difficult and costly to meet – doubling it would be virtually impossible,” Thies said.

She added the EPA is also “bound and determined” to regulate ammonia without legal authority. The Clean Air Act sets forth strict procedures for regulating pollutants. Instead of complying with those procedures, the EPA is attempting to circumvent them, she said.

Eliminating the phosphorous index was also an issue of concern. The phosphorus index is a tool used by cattle producers to assess the appropriateness of applying manure to land near our waters. The phosphorus index is different in every state and appropriately takes into account differences in climate, topography, soil type, soil test, water sensitivities, among other factors.

“In typical Obama fashion, the unique considerations of states would be done away with as EPA develops a national tool that would largely be based on a soil test for phosphorus to determine the upper limit,” she said. “Such an approach is entirely inappropriate, is not based on science and is likely to result in the inability of cattle producers to land apply their manure in many areas of the country. Depending on the outcome, this regulation may be one of the most economically devastating to animal agriculture.”
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