Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
The Ag Minute: EPA Decision on Dairy Exemption Was Long Overdue
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Randy Hultgren, discusses the recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize a rule that exempts milk from regulations under the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a proposed rule that will no longer treat milk spills like oil spills.
"Ultimately, EPA made the right and obvious decision on this issue, but it was long overdue. The agency had a chance to fix this in 2009. Instead, it chose to delay the decision.
"For most of us this seems like common sense. After all, the intent of the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) program is to prevent oil—not milk—from entering the navigable waters of the U.S.
"But for EPA bureaucrats this was just another example of being out-of-touch with production agriculture.
"Prior to finalizing this exemption for the dairy industry, EPA had suggested that milk storage be regulated as large oil tanks because milk contains animal fat, which is non-petroleum oil. Without the exemption, dairy producers would have been subjected to costly and unnecessary regulations.
"Our agricultural producers already face significant challenges. They do not need additional regulatory burdens and expenses that would place further strain on a vital industry.
"EPA still has a long way to go to win the hearts and minds of our producers.
"Our farmers and ranchers still face an uncertain regulatory future as long as the EPA suggests they till fields without dust and use pesticides without spray drift."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee.