An August 18 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, ‘Obama on the Farm’, missed the underlying fact: the Obama administration understands that America’s farmers are some of our nation’s finest conservationists, and we have gone to historic lengths to support them in these efforts.
Sadly, rumors and misconceptions have become the norm, not the exception, especially when it comes to regulations and the Obama administration’s work on agriculture. First, it was that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering treating spilled milk like an oil spill. Not true. In terms of water regulations, EPA has made it clear that recent rules do not seek to regulate land that occasionally ponds during heavy rains.
The opinion piece also mentions the regulation of farm dust. This is another frequently repeated myth based on a congressionally-mandated review that the EPA has conducted every 5 years for decades. Not only does EPA understand that you can’t farm without dust, but the Administration’s efforts to listen to and work with America’s farmers are helping them enjoy some of the best incomes they have seen in decades.
And the Department of Transportation announced just last week that it has no intention of proposing any new regulations or rules on the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to or from a farm.
Perhaps most importantly, the Obama Administration has worked to be the most accessible and collaborative in history. The President and I are listening to farmers, ranchers and other producers for how we can best collaborate to make them successful.
And my relationship with Lisa Jackson at EPA has led us to maintain a regular dialogue and even to visit farms in Iowa together. The collaborative partnership we enjoy is reflected in our policies: pursuing common-sense standards that will let farmers make the decisions they feel are best for their own operations.
In the first two years of this administration, we issued fewer new rules than the prior administration issued in its final two years. We have taken steps to protect Americans from dangerous pollution, but worked to ensure that we do not impede our economic recovery. If folks want to critique the President on style, so be it. But let’s make sure to look at the facts as well.