As the 2012 Farm Bill legislation makes it’s way through the US Senate, Kay Hagen, Senator for North Carolina has submitted a couple of amendments to the proposed legislation, one concerning the EPA, and what’s being called attempts at excessive regulations that will dramatically affect farmers:
“Well, first of all this is attached to the 2012 farm bill, and agriculture is a very important industry in North Carolina, it represents $74 billion dollars, that’s a ‘b’, $74 billion in economic activity in our state, and the other interesting the agricultural industry employs close to one-fifth of our state’s workers.
So, I think that the fact that we have this farm bill up this week before the Senate, is important for North Carolina, and I have introduced several amendments and as you said, is going to reduce the burdensome regulations for farmers. And this is co-sponsored with Republican Mike Crappo, and it’s right now…our farmers, they have a hard job, and anything we can do to help with the burdensome and unnecessary regulations that keep them from doing what they do best, we need to be working on together. And I think it’s interesting our Secretary of Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, along with out agricultural commissioner, Steve Troxler, again one democrat and one republican, have both endorsed this amendment. So, I think that we need to push this amendment through and be sure we get democrats and republicans to support it, and I feel good about it.”
Changes to the Clean Water Act have been of particular concern to farmers and Hagen says her amendment addresses those controversial changes:
“I’ve heard from numbers of farmers that for 35 years EPA has had a successful mechanism for safely regulating pesticide use, but there’s a recent court order that said we needed to look to the Clean Water Act, so this is a bi-partisan amendment to the farm bill that addresses this issue, it requires the EPA to study ways that we can better protect the environment and health from pesticide applications, but what this amendment does is really and efficient way of regulating the pesticides. And I think the fact that we’ve got the agricultural commissioner and the secretary of the department of the environment in North Carolina both endorsing this amendment speaks volumes as to how important that this is.”
Hagen explains that bi-partisan support is required to pass anything through the Senate, and this bill has that, four democrats, including Hagen and three republicans:
“I do. I think this amendment clarifies what the Clean Water Act permits that are not required for certain applications, and since the early 70’s EPA has regulated this issue. And to get anything passed through the US Senate you have to get republican and democratic support, so I want to be sure that we get that support in the senate, and then certainly get the support in the House so we can move forward with this amendment that’s really going to be of a great benefit to the farmers in North Carolina.”
US Senator Kay Hagen representing North Carolina.