This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Bob Goodlatte discusses the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed regulations for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. There are concerns that EPA is not recognizing the contribution producers have made to ensuring a healthy bay. Additionally, there are concerns that EPA is not considering the economic consequences of its Chesapeake Bay cleanup program on the agricultural community.
"For too long the Environmental Protection Agency has placed the burden of environmental regulations on our farmers and ranchers without recognizing the contributions our producers make to protect the environment.
"A prime example of this is happening in the mid-Atlantic states, including my state of Virginia, with efforts to preserve and protect the Chesapeake Bay.
"I often hear complaints from farmers and others who live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that the EPA does not recognize their good faith efforts to restore and protect this natural resource. The EPA Bay model does not account for any voluntary measures that our farmers undertake to control nitrogen and phosphorous, nor does it account for nutrient reductions achieved through USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
"The EPA is ignoring the advances agriculture has made in protecting the environment as it pursues a reckless regulatory agenda that places economic hardships on our agricultural producers.
"The people who call the Bay Watershed home are the ones who are the most concerned about protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, too often these hardworking individuals are cast as villains and placed in a position where restoring the Bay is pitted against the economic livelihoods of their communities. We can restore the Bay while also preventing our producers and rural communities from failing. I remain committed to protecting the Chesapeake Bay for future generations to use and enjoy."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.