During the American Farm Bureau Federation's 92nd annual meeting in Atlanta, two state officials charged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with engaging in a power grab that threatens the future of production agriculture in the United States. Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Charles Bronson, who served as Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture from 2000 to 2010, say a lack of careful oversight by Congress has allowed the agency's personnel to contrive policies that lack both scientific peer review and common sense.
Shaw believes that if allowed to stand, the new regulatory burden will be implemented across the nation. Agricultural producers will face steady price spikes in fuel, fertilizer and transportation. It is going to raise the cost of everything, for everyone else. According to Shaw, there needs to be a more scientifically open and transparent process and honest debate with the American people about the cost of this policy.
According to Bronson, the new package of regulations has never been peer reviewed and will cost agriculture $4 billion to $10 billion a year to meet the standards. And if EPA revises National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements, Bronson says every farm would have to have a filtration system of some kind on the water before it leaves for another location. Bronson estimated the cost for farmers and ranchers would range from $900 million to $1.6 billion, with a loss of 1,400 jobs.