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Simpson Offers Amendments to Rein in EPA Regulations

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Washington, July 22, 2010 | comments
“Frankly, I find it absolutely ridiculous that, in its zeal to respond to the crisis in the Gulf, the EPA has decided that milk is an environmental hazard,” said Simpson. “Our dairy industry has faced devastating losses in recent years, and having to comply with these unnecessary regulations would make it that much harder for Idaho dairy producers to weather the terrible economic storm they are in.”
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Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today fought to rein in unnecessary regulations coming from the Environmental Protection Agency.  Simpson, who is Ranking Member of the House subcommittee that funds the EPA, offered a number of amendments during subcommittee markup of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act for FY2011 intended to prevent the EPA from implementing onerous regulations that would negatively impact the economy.

First, Simpson offered an amendment to prohibit the EPA from using taxpayer dollars to implement laws or regulations that would expand EPA jurisdiction over state waters.  Congressional Democrats are currently working to remove the term “navigable waters” from the definition of waters subject to EPA regulation under the Clean Water Act.  Currently non-navigable waters are regulated by the states.

“Most farmers and ranchers I talk to are scared to death about the possibility that the EPA would be able to regulate their irrigation ditches, drainage ponds, and even groundwater, and I understand why,” said Simpson.  “In the West, water is critical to our way of life.  Giving the federal government jurisdiction over Idaho’s water would have a devastating impact on rural communities throughout our state and the food supply throughout our nation.”

Unfortunately, the amendment was not accepted by the subcommittee but instead failed on a party-line vote.

Simpson also offered an amendment to add report language to the bill to put the Committee on record opposing efforts by the EPA to require dairy producers to develop oil spill prevention plans in the event of a milk spill.  A recently implemented EPA rule would lump dairy producers and processers in with oil companies, which are required to have oil spill prevention plans for storage containers that hold 1,320 gallons or more of oil of any kind.  The EPA asserts that milk, which contains animal fat, falls under the requirement.  The rule would impact between 70 and 80 percent of dairy operations in the US, and producers that don’t comply would face punitive damages and fines every day they are not in compliance.

“Frankly, I find it absolutely ridiculous that, in its zeal to respond to the crisis in the Gulf, the EPA has decided that milk is an environmental hazard,” said Simpson.  “Our dairy industry has faced devastating losses in recent years, and having to comply with these unnecessary regulations would make it that much harder for Idaho dairy producers to weather the terrible economic storm they are in.”

The subcommittee accepted the amendment without objection.  The Interior and Environment Appropriations Act now goes before the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

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