WASHINGTON, DC – In a meeting today with Senate Agriculture Committee Republicans and Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Senator Pat Roberts said the agency has unfairly targeted farmers, ranchers and rural America with burdensome regulations. Audio here.
“Kansans tell me the Agency’s work to regulate fuel storage tanks, prescribed burning of the Flint Hills prairie, cap and trade, pesticide permits, fugitive dust, let alone coal power and our water resources is an assault on our way of life,” Roberts said. “The rocky relationship between Midwest agriculture and the EPA is not new, but the latest round of proposed regulations is making many folks believe the rules are driven by an anti-agriculture agenda that is hurting the Kansas economy.”
In the meeting, Roberts expressed frustration with the Agency’s recent dismissal of concerns from Kansans regarding the proposed Waters of the U.S. rules. Roberts took issue with the EPA’s recent campaign calling these concerns “myths.”
“Just two weeks ago, you were in Missouri to meet with producers regarding the proposed Waters of the United States regulation. 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 has fought regulations that hurt farmers and ranchers, hospitals, businesses and consumers. He is an outspoken opponent of costly regulations that harm the economy and job creation.
Senator Roberts opposes the “Waters of the United States” proposed rule and has cosponsored and voted for legislation to prevent the EPA from finalizing the rule. He is an original cosponsor of S. 2496, the Protecting Water and Property Rights Act, and S. 1006, the Preserve the Waters of the United States Act, and has also cosponsored Senator Rand Paul’s Defense of Environment and Property Act, S. 890.
Senator Roberts is also an outspoken opponent of the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that is now required in addition to any label requirements or restrictions already placed on the use of a pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
This double permitting requires approximately 35,000 pesticide applicators to get permits to cover about 500,000 applications per year. EPA estimates determined the permit rule will cost states, local entities and pesticide applicators $50 million and require one million hours to implement per year.
Roberts and Senator Mike Johanns have introduced a bill, S. 175, to ensure Clean Water Act permits are not needed for the applications of pesticides and amends FIFRA by stating that no permit shall be required for the use of a pesticide that is registered under FIFRA. Roberts introduced the same legislation in the last Congress where it was blocked from consideration on the Senate floor.
Responding to the concerns of Kansans, Senator Roberts has also fought the cap and tax scheme for its negligible impact on climate. He says cap and tax policies will simply pass on costs to consumers already struggling in this tough economy.
Roberts is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.