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Tipton: The Last Thing Small Agriculture Businesses Need is More Regulations

Washington, Nov 17 -

“At a time when one out of 10 Americans are out of work— we should be rolling back unnecessary regulations, not creating new ones.”

WASHINGTON, DC— Agriculture, Energy and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Scott Tipton (R-CO) today held a hearing to examine the ramifications on farmers and other small businesses of possible regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Specifically, the hearing focused on the new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements under the Clean Water Act for the application of pesticides and other chemicals that must be registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The Subcommittee also addressed the new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for coarse particulate matter that may or may not incorporate dust.

“The last thing small agriculture businesses need is more regulations,” said Tipton. “And certainly not costly regulations that are duplicative and bring no added environmental protection, such as the NPDES permit requirement for pesticide applications. 

“Similarly, enacting stringent EPA restrictions on farm dust doesn’t even pass the common sense test. Dust is an unavoidable result of agriculture production. We’ve already seen firsthand the harm this onerous regulation is causing for Arizona producers who have been forced to change their farming practices. The EPA should move quickly to finalize a revised rule that exempts agriculture dust from the NAAQS. Delay of this revision could be devastating for producers and local economies, and cause food prices to rise.

“At a time when one out of 10 Americans are out of work, we should be rolling back unnecessary regulations, not creating new ones. Providing greater regulatory relief will enable farmers, ranchers and rural communities to flourish and assist with getting our nation back on the path to prosperity.” 

For related hearing documents,
click here.

Notable Witness Quotes:

Leonard Felix, President of Olathe Spray Service, Inc. in Olathe, CO, said, “The bottom line is: do all these requirements improve the environment? No! To repeat, it is all unnecessary because FIFRA requires EPA to ensure a pesticide undergo rigorous testing for water safety before it is allowed to be registered for use. Agriculture doesn’t need the added burden, states don’t want the added expense, and even EPA and a majority in Congress have voiced their opposition to the permits.” 

Philip Nelson, President of the Illinois Farm Bureau in Bloomington, IL, said, “Spending precious resources for this purpose represents neither good public policy nor a wise use of taxpayer dollars… As president of Illinois Farm Bureau, I can speak for Illinois farmers, and I can tell you they’re frustrated. Few farmers are aware the permit is even in effect. And even fewer can tell you today whether they will be required to get one, how to comply with it, or even where to go to get it. The time we spend thinking about it is time away from what we do best. If time is money, then the new NPDES permit represents a waste of time and effort and fails any cost-benefit analysis.” 

Ray Vester, of Vester Farms in Stuttgart, AR, said, “Having to comply with an ‘air permit’ will only add to our costs and decrease efficiency or drive more of the producers out of business. It is clear that as more permits, guidance documents, fees, fines and taxes are imposed, small businesses such as family farmers have less capacity to survive and deal with such an expensive and time consuming system. This has been proven time and again in other industries and is being repeated in the agricultural industry.”