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Senators Seek Answers on EPA Regs Affecting Agriculture, Rural Communities

Growing concern among farmers, ranchers, rural communities and agriculture interests has led U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Republican members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to seek answers on a wide assortment of environmental regulations planned by the Obama administration.

All Republican members on the agriculture panel have signed a letter asking to meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to discuss a wide-ranging list of EPA regulatory actions that will affect agriculture production and rural economies.

The Senators request a meeting at which they can share their constituents' concerns and gain "a better understanding of your commitment, including activities and timeframe, for addressing the needs of agriculture and rural America."

"We have heard concerns about the expansion of the definition of "waters of the United States,' pesticide regulations, methane emissions, the handling of personal information from agriculture operations, and other regulatory issues that may be on the horizon and could threaten the continued productivity and economic viability of American agriculture. At a time when farmers and ranchers face the challenges of managing weather risks, responding to market demands, and adjusting to changes from the recently passed farm bill, regulatory uncertainty further complicates the operating environment for many producers," the letter to McCarthy said.

"Uncertainty about how and when such regulatory concerns will be resolved not only threatens America's leadership position in global food production, but also investment and prosperity in our rural cities and towns which are dependent on the health of the agricultural sector," the letter concludes.

The letter was signed by Agriculture Committee ranking member Cochran, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

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