EPA takes heat over bay pollution ‘diet’
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
16 March 2011
Farmers complained Wednesday to a sympathetic audience in Congress that the Environmental Protection Agency’s "pollution diet" for restoring the Chesapeake Bay is based on flawed science and threatens to drive growers out of business with burdensome and unnecessary regulations.
Appearing before a House agriculture subcommittee, spokesmen for regional and national farm groups accused the Obama administration of pressing bay states to crack down on their poultry and livestock farms when some research indicates that farmers have voluntarily reduced their pollution of the Chesapeake.
House members of both parties on the panel joined in, grilling and chastising Deputy EPA Administrator Robert Perciasepe for pressing ahead with the bay cleanup plan in the face of such criticism and a lawsuit challenging the agency’s legal authority.
"You people have created a hornet’s nest out there," said Rep. Collin C. Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat, who accused the EPA of issuing regulations in response to environmental groups’ lawsuits without consulting farmers and other affected parties.
Peterson, the ranking Democrat and former chairman of the full House Agriculture Committee, recalled that he had helped get $250 million in federal funds earmarked to help bay-area farmers pay for controlling pollution from their fields. But now, he warned, "maybe we’ll take our money back, and EPA can go find the money from the