Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt last week submitted a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap a proposed regulation on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Brownback and Schmidt cited concerns that the rule would place an undue burden on Kansas livestock producers.
"This rule is an example of the federal government overstepping its boundaries," the letter stated. "The EPA lacks jurisdiction over non-discharging CAFOs and therefore has no legal authority to gather information from these operations."
The proposed rule, known as the CAFO Reporting Rule, would require all CAFOs to report to the EPA, regardless of size and permit status. Kansas already maintains a comprehensive database and permitting process for animal feeding operations in the state. The only effect of this proposed rule in Kansas would be an additional layer of burdensome federal government paperwork, Brownback and Schmidt wrote.
"In these economic times, we should be doing everything we can to encourage our agricultural producers, who create thousands of jobs in rural America," Brownback said. "Requiring them to file more additional, unnecessary documents to federal bureaucrats takes producers' focus off of their primary responsibility of ensuring a safe, affordable food supply."
In addition, Brownback and Schmidt noted that the rule usurps the state's authority to regulate CAFOs, which has been supported by numerous court rulings.
"Clearly, Kansas knows best how to balance the needs of our agricultural producers and preserving our environment," Schmidt said. "Congress recognized this in the plain language of the Clean Water Act, which gives states the duty to regulate agricultural runoff. This rule is just another Washington power-grab over our agricultural industry."
Brownback and Schmidt strongly recommended that this proposed rule be laid to rest for legal reasons. However, if the EPA does decide to proceed, Brownback and Schmidt said further public notice would be needed as the EPA has yet to adequately address all the details for the reporting requirements presented in the proposed rule.
The letter was submitted as part of the public comment period on the proposed regulation.