Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says he wants the Environmental Protection Agency to stop treating agriculture like second-class citizens. Grassley is joining Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., to cosponsor legislation that would expedite a decision by the EPA to exempt milk containers from regulations initially intended for oil spills. He says it's just another example of EPA overreach, especially when it comes to ag. Grassley notes dairy farmers are already struggling and adding burdensome, unnecessary regulations would put many of them in a precarious position or even put them out of business. What's more, he says forcing farmers to make unnecessary modifications to their operations could easily increase prices for consumers at the grocery store.
According to Grassley it defies common sense that the EPA would even consider treating milk like oil. But despite indications in January 2009 that the EPA would exempt milk storage from Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure regulations, they have yet to make a final rule. The legislation Grassley is co-sponsoring would require the EPA to finalize the proposed rule to exempt milk containers within 30 days and would delay EPA fines or other compliance penalties against milk containers until EPA makes a decision on the proposed exemption.
Grassley is also leading an effort to keep the EPA from placing further economic pressure on rural America if the agency would choose to impose more stringent regulations on dust. The Senator is concerned a draft policy assessment on particulate matter, in which the EPA staff concluded the administrator could either retain the current standards on particulate matter or make them more stringent, puts the EPA one step closer to imposing more unnecessary regulations on farmers.