SHEELY: Feds to eliminate dust

Obama’s EPA declares war on America’s farmers

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) thinks about farmers, it must have in mind the lyrics from that song by Kansas: “All we are is dust in the wind.”

That’s because the EPA wants to regulate the dust that farmers produce as they run combines through their fields and drive down gravel roads.

Federal bureaucrats seem to have forgotten that food production is a challenging business - and yes, sometimes it kicks up a bit of dust.

What’s next? Regulating backyard gardeners who grow the flowers that make the pollen that causes neighbors with allergies to sneeze?

Don’t be surprised if it comes to that. As Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas said in a recent hearing, the EPA makes a habit of threatening farmers and ranchers with “burdensome, duplicative, costly, unnecessary or, in some cases, just plain bizarre” regulations.

Farm dust is a perfect example of federal overreach. Nobody has shown that farm dust is a public health hazard. Judges have determined that the research is “inconclusive,” but they’ve stopped short of blocking the EPA’s draconian rules.

Frustration with the EPA is bipartisan. Republican Rep. Frank D. Lucas of Oklahoma agrees with Mrs. Lincoln. He called the EPA “an agency gone wild” and warned that “if the EPA is allowed to continue down this path, the only choice for many farmers and ranchers will be to stop farming altogether.”

This is a crystal-clear example of a federal government that doesn’t have its priorities straight. Unemployment is sky-high. The challenges of joblessness are especially severe in rural America. Shouldn’t our overlords in Washington strive to get people back to work? At the very least, they shouldn’t go out of their way to make life more difficult for struggling families in these hard times.

Yet that’s what the EPA seems designed to do. My own experience with the agency is a tale of chronic frustration. It can feel as if EPA has a boot planted on my throat, trying to choke the life out of me.

“Why has an American agency decided to declare regulatory war on such a large swath of American people?” asked Gerald Simonsen of the National Sorghum Producers at a forum in Washington last week.

I know exactly what he means. Friends of mine who grow corn are worried about the future of atrazine, an important crop-protection herbicide.

I have my own hassles with the EPA. The latest involves irrigation. Here in California, water is at a premium: We just don’t have enough of it. Federal regulations are a big part of the reason why, but that’s another story. The bottom line is that we have to use water with maximum efficiency so we can grow the food Americans need.

I can’t afford to lose any water, so I save every last drop - even when I’m flushing the sediment from my irrigation tape. After the water cleans out my lines, it flows into a holding pond. From there, I can reuse it.

Recycling water is an example of sustainable agriculture at work. It enables me to get the most out of limited resources.

But the EPA may make me halt this practice. It’s worried that trace amounts of herbicide and pesticide possibly will show up in my holding pond.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts