The Ag Minute: EPA Strikes at Crop Protection Tool for Farmers

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, discusses how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated an unprecedented re-review of a critically important pesticide, which threatens its continued availability to farmers and ranchers. Atrazine is a pesticide that has been used safely and effectively for more than 50 years. Banning the use of atrazine could cost between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs from corn production losses alone, according to University of Chicago economist Don L. Coursey.

Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.

"No one cares more about the environment than the farmers and ranchers of America.  After all the land allows our farmers and ranchers to feed, educate and clothe their families and neighbors.

"Everyone agrees that we need to be wise in the use of technology.  All farmers ask is that the regulatory process be transparent, fair and based on science.

"Somehow, the regulatory review process in Washington has—of late—been anything but transparent, fair and based on science.  It appears that activist agendas are beginning to distort that review process.

"A good example of this is atrazine — an herbicide that has been used safely and effectively by farmers across Missouri.  In use for more than 50 years, atrazine was reapproved for use by the EPA in 2006 after a twelve year exhaustive and transparent review of more than 6000 research studies.  The review, undertaken by two separate administrations, concluded that atrazine is safe with regard to human health, animal health, and the environment.          

 "Now pressure from environmental activists has led this administration to initiate a redundant, costly and hurried re-review, threatening to arbitrarily withdraw an essential crop protection tool that, by their own estimate, saves corn farmers more than $28 per acre.

"In this tough economy, this administration should do everything it can to help our farmers.  Basing its decisions and processes on science rather than the agenda of environmental radicalism would be a good start."

The Ag Minute is Ranking Member Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee Republicans.