Former Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson labeled new EPA rules that limit the amount of waste allowed to be dumped in Florida’s waterways a “bureaucratic nightmare” during a conference held at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting.
Bronson was joined by Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, to speak on what the Farm Bureau labeled a “power grab” by the EPA. According to a press release detailing the conference, Shaw said that the EPA is “trying to be very creative, making their own rules.” Bronson spoke specifically about the EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria, which would govern state waterways currently inundated with problems brought on by pollution from excessive waste.
From the press release:
According to Bronson, the new package of regulations has never been peer reviewed. More importantly, the regulations will inflict a massive burden upon the state’s citizens. “Even a clear underground stream will not meet the standard(s),” he said. “We believe that it will cost agriculture $4 billion to $10 billion a year to meet the standards.”
The Farm Bureau’s criticism of the EPA is not its first foray into a controversial issue. On Jan. 7, a group of more than 40 scientists requested a meeting with the group’s president, Bob Stallman, to discuss his stance on climate change.
The bureau has long maintained that there is “no generally agreed-upon scientific assessment on … carbon emissions from human activities, their impact on past decades of warming, or how they will affect future climate changes.” In a letter to Stallman, several scientists voiced their concerns about climate change, writing that “human activities are the primary driver” and “contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”
The EPA’s nutrient criteria, meanwhile, have been lauded by environmentalists and challenged in court. Bronson joined current Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam, along with former Attorney General Bill McCollum and his replacement, Pam Bondi, in filing suit against the EPA in early December. Several similar complaints have followed. On Wednesday, representatives from Pinellas County announced that they would soon be filing suit against the EPA, also in an effort to soften the standards.