Kansas Corn, Grain Sorghum Heard at Senate Ag Hearing on EPA and Agriculture
EPA’s handling of atrazine regulation was one of the topics at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Thursday. At an oversight hearing on EPA and agriculture Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee heard from the Jere White, executive director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association. Also speaking at the hearing was EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Rich Hillman, Arkansas Farm Bureau; and Jay Vroom, CropLife America.
White expressed his concern over the process used by EPA in its latest round of Science Advisory Panels.
“I explained how EPA has gone through an extensive scientific evaluation of atrazine that began in 1995, and the fact that they had just reregistered the product in 2006 with more than 6,000 studies being involved in that process. Yet, after all of that scientific research, discussion and decision making, EPA suddenly announced last fall a new re-review of atrazine after a coordinated media blitz surrounding a Natural Resources Defense Council study late last summer. So we have EPA is using a great amount of resources in a politically motivated round of SAPs, which clearly was a response to activist media hype,” White said.
White also told the committee about a rash of subpoenas issued out of the Holiday Shores case (Madison County, Illinois – case number 04-L-710), in which trial attorneys are representing some community water systems seeking large payouts from the makers of atrazine.
“Several grower groups who have participated in the stakeholder process at EPA on atrazine have been targeted to receive subpoenas for massive amounts of records and information,” White said. “About three-fourths of the ag groups who participated in last week’s Science Advisory Panel at EPA had been served subpoenas before the SAP.”
At that time, the Kansas Corn Growers and Grain Sorghum associations had not yet received subpoenas.
“In my presentation at the SAP, I brought it to the attention of the panel that people were being harassed for their participation in the process. When I returned home from Washington DC, I was rewarded with three subpoenas.”
White told the Senate Agriculture Committee that the timing of the subpoenas seemed to be more than a coincidence.
“They are sending a clear message that if you are going to be an advocate for atrazine, the trial attorneys are going to make you pay a price,” he said. “When I explained this at the Senate Ag Committee, senators on both sides of the aisles were clearly concerned.
White’s written comments submitted to the Senate Agriculture Committee may be found at www.ksgrains.com