Livestock Producers Tell Lawmakers: We Feel ‘Attacked’ by EPA’s Regulations

Representatives from livestock industries gave passionate responses when asked about Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations during a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, Wednesday.

“Can you speak to the detrimental effects these types of onerous rules have on livestock producers and how uncertainty in compliance costs trickle down to the American consumer,” asked Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN 4th District).

The first response was from Todd Wilkinson, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

“The WOTUS field and all EPA approaches on this have been troubling for American ranchers and farmers. We go from the Obama administration with a series of rules to the Trump administration with a series of rules to the Biden administration with a series of rule. And unfortunately, the American producer is left out there trying to figure out which way to go. And we can’t be dealing with these constantly changing rules from the EPA. We feel like we’re being attacked,” Wilkinson said. “To try and make our operations go forward, we need one set of rules. We need to move forward with one set of rules. And we ask that Congress consistently apply the rules and don’t give us a mixed signal.”

Next, Bryan Burns, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, North American Meat Institute said he supported Wilkinson’s remarks and added more.

“We too have felt somewhat under attack by EPA. They are currently engaged in a process to revise effluent limitation guidelines for meat and poultry processing facilities that are going to impose tremendous costs on those facilities that we don’t think the agency has factored in. That’s a big concern. And the recent change to the national drinking water standard involving PFAS chemicals, we believe can have unintended consequences in terms of other agencies that tie their regulations to national water standards. We don’t believe that EPA has adequately sock input from other agencies or has adequately sought input from industry,” Burns said. “And finally, I’ll mention we now have a second environmental agency that the SEC issued climate guidelines that impose all sorts of environmental requirements do need to go into today, but we would suggest that the SEC stay in its lane and not try to become a second Environmental Protection Agency.”

Scott Hays, President of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), also responded.

“The pig industry is proud of our record on climate, sustainability, and the environment and we would just like for Congress to recognize that manure from a pig farmer is a very valuable resource,” Hays said. “It’s not a waste, and we apply it that way. Especially with the prices of fertilizer today, pig farmers are relying on that storage of manure to fertilize the next crop and we use it very judiciously and we don’t need rules that restrict our ability to use it properly.”

Click below to hear Sabrina Halvorson’s radio news report for Hoosier Ag Today.


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