What is in this article?:
- House Agriculture Committee takes on EPA.
- EPA adminstrator Lisa Jackson testifies on agency views, actions.
- Lawsuit settlements, NPDES permits and spray drift among topics covered.
What about the EPA’s priorities considering the tightening of budgets?
“I’d like to know how (the EPA) is prioritizing expenditures,” said Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton. “Is the re-evaluation of atrazine a high-priority project for you to spend funds on? Or do you believe the appropriations you’ll have will be limitless?”
The re-evaluation of the “new science that’s emerged on atrazine is part of our base budget,” replied Jackson. “We intend to continue funding it so we can complete it. It will actually be quite helpful because we know have a National Cancer Institute Study expected, I believe, next year.
“I see that as our commitment to sound science – that when new data are put before us, we try to make a priority of evaluating it, especially as studies start to build up.”
Tipton: “What about the unfunded mandates you’re putting on communities?”
“Every rule and regulation we do is subject to its cost and benefit,” said Jackson. “That’s (never) truer than the pesticide program that’s so important to this committee. … Rather than unfunded mandates, our job is to implement the environmental laws. That’s what EPA was created to do.”
What about spray drift?
“It came to my attention that (language) discussed for possible inclusion on a label would set a standard of ‘no spray drift,’” said Jackson. “I’ve made it clear, and we’ve been working as an agency since, to make sure that isn’t the impact. … Of course, we want to see (drift) minimized but don’t want to set a standard people can’t meet.”
Representing the “Number One rice-producing district in the United States” Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford said “Rice is produced in standing water for 45 to 60 days – 6 to 8 inches. Are rice fields subject to regulation under the CWA?”
Active agriculture is not subject to regulation, said Jackson. Neither is rice field discharge. “Rice water is considered irrigation return flow and is exempt from the new pesticide water permit.”