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Published February 22, 2011, 09:12 AM

Ag committee members call for Vilsack’s input on EPA decisions

WASHINGTON — House and Senate Agriculture committee members told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Feb. 17 that the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory zeal is the biggest problem in rural America and urged him to try to influence EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s decision-making.

By: Jerry Hagstrom, Special to Agweek

WASHINGTON — House and Senate Agriculture committee members told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Feb. 17 that the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory zeal is the biggest problem in rural America and urged him to try to influence EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s decision-making.

The many House Republicans criticizing the EPA was not a surprise, but even Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says “some common sense” needs to be applied to EPA’s consideration of new rules to treat spilled milk the same as oil and to force farmers to control dust.

Vilsack said he has encouraged Jackson to travel in rural America and he is trying to quantify the conservation measures that farmers are taking. But when Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Vilsack that EPA stands for “End Production Agriculture,” Vilsack had the last word.

“Can I share in the proceeds from the bumper sticker you’ve just created?” Vilsack asked his fellow Iowan.

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