The governors of Nebraska and Iowa are not mincing words when it comes to their feelings about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In a conference call with reporters, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman called EPA “the enemy of agriculture”. Heineman says the agency is the biggest regulatory issue that farmers and ranchers face.
“The federal government, particularly under the Obama Administration, has been overly aggressive with regulation,” Heineman said. “We all support clean air, clean water and appropriate regulations. But it’s the EPA that’s the enemy of agriculture, I’ll put it that way.”
Iowa governor Terry Branstad took the criticism of EPA a step further. In an interview with Le Mars, Iowa radio station KLEM, Branstad put some of the blame on EPA for recently-announced layoffs at Deere and Company’s Waterloo, Iowa tractor plant.
“A few years ago, we had the best corn prices we’d ever seen. Now the EPA has cut the Renewable Fuels Standard, we have a large crop of corn out there and the price of corn is below the cost of production,” Branstad said. “When farmers see they’re not going to be making money, they quit buying equipment—and that’s just exactly what’s happened.
“We were promised by Gina McCarthy, the director of the EPA, we’d have a decision (on RFS) before the end of June. They still haven’t—so I really lay that in the hands of the EPA,” Branstad said. “They’ve really done real damage to the farm economy—and now the jobs at John Deere and farm machinery manufacturing as well.”
By statute, the final RFS rule for 2014 was due at the end of November last year. EPA finally submitted the final rule to the Office of Management and Budget on August 22nd.