The Environmental Protection Agency is involved with a lot of issues that are very important to American agriculture, several of which would qualify as "hot button" issues. Karl Brooks, EPA Administrator for Region 7, which is comprised of Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas took on some of the misconceptions, myths and inaccurate information about what EPA is doing regarding some issues that directly affect farmers and ranchers within the region.
"It's been said for years that EPA is planning some kind of a cow tax," Brooks said. "There is not now and there will not be a tax on cows. There is no plan to tax livestock emissions. There is no truth to the fiction that there is some plan to tax cattle in this part of the country or any part of the country; that's just flat false."
Brooks says he has also heard talk around the region that EPA is planning to regulate dust from farm fields or even gravel or dirt roads. He says this is simply not true.
"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," Brooks said. "Protecting public health and the environment in this part of the country does not require regulating dust from farm roads or dust from harvest or tillage operations. There's no truth to this myth."
Atrazine has been another topic that some people have tried to raise the alarm about as EPA is conducting a review of it.
"Let me hit the truth head on. There is no plan to ban atrazine; the agency has not proposed a ban on atrazine," Brooks said. "What the agency is doing is doing is taking a look at new science about the chemical. EPA is interested in trying to make sure that any regulation of atrazine is based on the soundest science that we've got available. So the myth that you sometimes hear that the agency is out to shut down one of the most popular herbicides in this part of the country by banning it is just not true."
So why are there so many myths and misconceptions surrounding the EPA?
"Sometimes I think people push these fictions as a way to try to hurt the agency, try to run down the agency," Brooks said. "They really ought to be dealing in the facts and that's what we try to bring to the job; it's just a factual discussion of the law and the science."