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Rural America Solutions Group Sends Follow-Up letter to Administrator Jackson on EPA’s Job-Killing Policies

Washington, D.C., Oct 28 -

House Rural America Solutions Group Co-chairs, Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK),  Small Business Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (R-WA), sent a letter today  to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to recap the Rural America Solutions Group forum on job-killing EPA regulations held on September 29, 2010 that she declined to attend.  

The letter states that “some of the EPA’s proposed regulations would have a depressing effect on rural jobs and economic growth and that the agency needs to justify its proposed regulations firsthand to rural Americans.” Click here to read the full text of the letter.

Excerpts:

The fourteen Members of Congress, forum participants and audience that attended, were disappointed that you declined our invitation to participate.  However, in your absence, we heard from seven panelists who each made a presentation on a recent EPA regulation, policy or proposal and its impact on rural America.  The panelists represented a broad cross-section of the groups and small businesses that are crucial to employment and economic sustainability in rural America. 

Mr. Norm Semanko, representing the Family Farm Alliance, the National Water Resources Association and the Idaho Water Users Association…stated: “it appears that EPA is moving in a direction where a heavier regulatory hammer will be wielded, litigious actions will be encouraged through the use of “citizen suits”, and products used by American farmers and ranchers in the production of food and fiber will be foremost in the sights of EPA regulators.”

Mr. Gerald Simonsen, Chairman of the National Sorghum Producers, traveled from Nebraska… [he] cited a study by University of Chicago which found that banning the widely used pesticide atrazine would cost corn growers as much as $58 an acre and destroy as many as 48,000 jobs.

Mr. Bob Gabbard, Kentucky resident and CEO of U.S. Coal Corporation… noted that EPA actions are threatening to destroy these jobs in a region that is already economically depressed and pointed out that EPA actions have already put nearly 160,000 Appalachia jobs in dire jeopardy. 

Dr. Tim Considine, Professor of Economics at the University of Wyoming… discussed how, with the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques, development of the Marcellus shale could lead to the creation of up to 250,000 jobs by 2020.  Professor Considine also noted that if a de-facto hydraulic fracturing ban in New York remains, it will contribute to the loss of as many as 27,000 jobs by 2020 in that state. 

Ms. Tamara Thies, Chief Environmental Counsel at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association… stated: “By imposing stringent regulations with all the discretion and judgment of a chronic drunk, the EPA will leave many cattle operations with no recourse but to shut down and eliminate jobs.”

Mr. Keith Van Scooter, President and CEO of Lincoln Paper and Tissue… talk[ed] about the EPA’s proposal for a new Boiler MACT rule…[citing a study that] this proposed regulation would put more than 300,000 jobs at risk. 

Mr. Wilmer Stoneman III, representing the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, discussed how the EPA’s overreaching authority is negatively impacting rural Americans within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed… He went on to say: “The economic implications of these proposals will be staggering.  The cost they represent will impact the economy as a whole, and this committee should not be surprised when our economy contracts and jobs are lost to foreign competition.” 

We believe your agency is overreaching in its massive effort to regulate private lands and waters.  As such, we urge you to take a step back to listen and learn firsthand how many of the EPA’s proposed regulations will impact rural Americans.  Your agency should conduct listening sessions and town meetings in rural communities so that everyone understands the reasons for such proposed regulations as well as the costs and benefits.  We hope you agree with us that this rural feedback is necessary.

We also fear that pending legislation, such as H.R. 5088 (Oberstar) is aimed at further expanding the agency’s mission over rural communities.  Such legislation, which could be considered in the lame-duck session of this Congress under the cover of darkness and without sufficient input, should not be considered given their complexity and enormous impact they could have on rural Americans.

 The Rural America Solutions Group was established by House Republicans to develop solutions to the unique issues facing rural America.  To learn more about the Rural America Solutions Group, click here.