Farmers Fight Back

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to, and He may be reached at

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Charles H. Bronson was equally alarmed by the EPA’s aim to revise National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements under which any transfer of water would require a permit. “Every farm would have to have a filtration system of some kind on the water before it leaves for another location,” he said. Characterizing this system as a “bureaucratic nightmare,” Bronson estimated that farmers and ranchers would be hit with additional costs ranging from $900 million to $1.6 billion, accompanied by a loss of 1,400 jobs.  “We need to have a more scientifically open and transparent process,” Bronson said. “We need to have an honest debate with the American people about the cost of this policy.”

Bronson cited the EPA’s handing of Florida water management as an example of their overreach.  In 2008, the agency settled a lawsuit with environmental groups, agreeing to establish “nutrient criteria” for all the water in the state, ignoring years of scientific research by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,  the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and other experts, locking the state government entirely out of the process. Bronson says the new rules “will cost agriculture $4 billion to $10 billion a year to meet the standards,” and taxpayers using municipal water systems would be hit with an additional $8.1 billion charge.  “This is simply an unacceptable burden for Florida,” he added.

Those attending the AFBF meeting expressed the most enthusiasm for Mr. Stallman’s characterization of the EPA as “a clear and present danger”  to agriculture.  “We will not stand idly by while opponents of today’s American agriculture try to drag us down, try to bury us in bureaucratic red tape and costly regulation, and try to destroy the most productive and efficient agricultural system in the world,”  Stallman vowed.  The organization is already resisting EPA regulations requiring farmers to obtain EPA permits before spraying crops with pesticide- and disease-killing chemicals.  Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee announced that EPA rules regarding both “spray drift’ and “farm dust” will be reviewed by Congress this year.  The AFBF delegates, who set the organization’s policies will likely approve a resolution on Tuesday requesting Congress to “rein in the EPA.”

In a related vein, Reuters reports that French president Nicolas Sarkozy will be meeting with Barack Obama next week.  One of the main topics of the meeting?  Soaring international food prices, which the NY Times reports hit a “record high” in December.  Environmental activists contend climate disruptions caused by global warming are the principal reason.

The Obama administration and EPA head Lisa Jackson have made it clear they consider that organization beyond the reach of Congressional restraint.  Republican Congressmen Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) intend to hold hearings to determine the validity of science used as the basis for EPA regulations.  The bigger battle will be about the separation of power between the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government, with the Obama administration pushing to expand its ability to rule by fiat wherever possible.

Food prices are extremely important to Americans, but the stakes here are far higher.  If the EPA can bypass Congress, America is heading into largely uncharted waters, a sentiment best expressed by  Phil Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau: “We think that agency is out of control right now…”

Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website

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  • semby

    And this is why, this country is angry. The over-reach of this Administration.

  • Victor Laslow

    This administration is in dire straights. The people have awakened and since November the only way the progressives can further their agenda is through regulatory agencies under Obama's direction. He has for all tense and purpose circumvented the Congress and taken control of the republic. By his will only and not the people’s America is fundamentally changing. Mark my words as I saw this coming back in July of 2009.… . Obama will control the American food supply if not stopped in the courts and then again in November 2012

  • intlctlrdnck

    While Pelosi and Reid were busy with their thousands-paged destructive bills they were jamming down Americans' throats, the administration was quietly and effectively making the Legislative branch merely window dressing.

  • owyheewine

    The prompt answer is fairly straightforward and simple. The House of Representatives has the power to totally defund EPA. A year or two of Zero dollars will do wonders.

    • sneed5

      owyheewine!! Absolutely! Put the squeeze on them! If the House and Senate don't straighten up we will no longer need them. These agencies have become the tail that wags the dog! Another thing I believe would help. All U.S. Senators will accept e-mails from anywhere in the U.S. All of them won't reply and I can understand that–e-mails would be too numerous. But, they do count the number of e-mails received, and get an idea of the feeling of the public (I don't trust polls.) U.S. Representatives won't accept e-mails from anyone except those from their district, so they don't know the real pulse of the nation. I propose that the Representatives, at least ACCEPT e-mails from around the nation. After all, regardless of their district, their votes affect all of us and they get their pay from all of us!!!

  • USMCSniper

    The government has caused vast spans from Bakersfield to Fresno to sit bone-dry. Brown grass, dead orchards and lifeless grapevine skeletons stretch for miles for lack of water. For every fallow field, there’s a sign that farmers have placed alongside the highway: “No Water = No Food,” “No Water = No Jobs,” “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” Locals say it’s been like this for two years now, as Congress and bureaucrats cite “drought,” “global warming” and “endangered species” to deny water to this $37 billion breadbasket through arbitrary “environmental” quotas. It started with a 2008 federal court order that stopped water flowing from northern tributaries on a supposed need to protect a small fish – the delta smelt – that was getting ground up in the turbines of pump stations that divert the water south. The court knew it was bad law, but Congress refused to exempt the fish from the Endangered Species Act and the diversion didn’t help the fish.

  • kwg1

    These farmers had better be careful> Their subsidies may be at stake for daring to question authority! sarc off!

  • American_Flag

    Soon we will all be working for the gummint…Orwell’s 1984 is just around the next bend.

    Thank you liberal dolts.

  • topperj

    Obama, EPA, Power Grab…just kind of rolls off the tongue easily. Good for these guys. Somebody has to take a stand and draw a line in the sand with these thugs in D.C. (Dictatorial Control).

  • CleanStreams

    The states have had 25 years and over $5 Billion dollars to address water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and have ONLY done a fair job of improving the water quality. There is nothing being asked of the states that they shouldn’t have been doing for the past 25 years. Every farmer should be operating at some base-line level of conservation compliance. Why does the agricultural community think that they have some god-given, constitutional right to pollute the Bay?