Rockefeller May be Raising White Flag Prematurely

Farm Bureau is questioning Senator's resolve on freezing EPA regulations.

Published on: Oct 6, 2010

Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., may not be that committed to his proposed two-year freeze of EPA climate gas rules. That's according to American Farm Bureau Regulatory Specialist Paul Schlegel. He says Rockefeller's recent quote to Environment and Energy Daily that the President will probably veto his bill and that the point is the message seems to raise the white flag prematurely on freezing imminent EPA greenhouse gas rules.

"Here we are with just weeks to go before onerous regulations go into effect by EPA and the prime person who ought to be leading this charge looks like he has self doubt," Schlegel said. "On an issue this important you don't want someone like Hamlet leading you, you want someone who believes in what they're doing."

Schlegel says Rockefeller is right, the President would probably veto a freeze on EPA climate rules that are set to take effect in January, and that could lead to tough restrictions on agriculture. But the Senator's comments raise questions as to whether he's backing off his freeze, which he claims he has the votes to pass.

Meantime, Schlegel says what could happen on climate change rules in the courts, resulting in more stringent rules, has already happened with pesticide permitting requirements.

"The courts frequently make decisions that we have to live with," Schlegel said. "EPA failed to defend their own regulation in the 6th Circuit and now we're faced with people having to apply for a Clean Water Act permit to apply pesticides. That was never done in the 38 year history of the act, because EPA failed to defend their own regulation."

House Agriculture Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., would amend the Clean Water Act and FIFRA pesticide law to ensure farmers who meet FIFRA don't have to get CWA permits. Senate Agriculture Chair Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have introduced a similar bill.