NSAC's Blog

EPA and Agriculture in the Spotlight

September 24, 2010

EPA and agriculture issues are in the spotlight this week and next week, with a Senate oversight hearing and the first meeting of the EPA Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Committee appointed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

On Thursday, September 23, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to examine the impact of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation on agriculture.

EPA Administrator Jackson responded to Chairman Blanche Lincoln’s (D-AR) questions and objections to EPA guidance on pesticide spray drift, the development of a Clean Water Act general permit for the application of pesticides on and near water, settlements with environmental group litigants, regulation of greenhouse gases, Clean Air Act standards for fine particulate matter, and the preparation of a Total Maximum Daily load plan for phosphorus on the Illinois River in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) added EPA development of numeric nutrient standards in Florida, regulation of the pesticide methyl iodide, and review of the registration for the herbicide atrazine to the list of concerns.

Administrator Jackson agreed to keep the Committee in the loop on EPA developments and to continue meetings with farmers and agricultural organizations both in Washington DC and in the EPA regions.   She did remain firm on EPA’s addressing the issues, noting that EPA action is mandated by federal courts and by environmental statutes.

Next week, EPA is holding a meeting of the Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee on Sept. 30-Oct 1 in Washington DC.  This is the first meeting for members appointed by Administrator Jackson.

This federal advisory committee, overseen by the EPA Agricultural Advisor Larry Elworth, is charged with providing advice on issues selected by the Administrator.  A notice for the meeting, including the agenda, is posted on the Committee’s website.  NSAC Senior Policy Association Martha Noble is a member of the Committee.

This particular meeting will focus exclusively on agriculture and water quality issues, with presentations and discussion focusing on Iowa water quality, the Chesapeake Bay Region, and the development of Clean Water Act numeric nutrient standards for phosphorus and nitrogen in Florida.

Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment

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