During a House Agriculture Committee Hearing with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy last week, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) pushed the Administrator on why she wasn’t doing more to bridge the gap between USEPA and agriculture interests. IL Corn joins Congressman Davis in his insistence that Administrator McCarthy follow through on appointing a member of agriculture to her Science Advisory Board. The SAB is authorized to review the quality and relevance of the scientific and technical information being used by the EPA or proposed as the basis for Agency regulations; review EPA research programs and plans; provide science advice as requested by the EPA Administrator, and advise the agency on broad scientific matters.
From the official transcript of the hearing, here is the interaction between Congressman Rodney Davis and Administrator McCarthy:
DAVIS: …I do want to ask you, I know you mentioned earlier in the hearing that you're trying to ensure that there's a better working relationship between the Ag sector and the EPA.
You know, there are a lot of folks that don't think that the EPA actually accounts for the economic consequences of some of your regulatory proposals. I also asked you at the last event, last hearing we had, whether or not you have worked with the USDA to appoint a member of agriculture to the EPA Science Advisory Board. That was my language in the farm bill that I offered two years ago. What is the status of getting that person appointed?
MCCARTHY: On the standing committee?
MCCARTHY: Yes, we actually as recently as last week met with USDA so we can finalize that standing committee. We understand how important it is and we have been working hard to make sure that we respect people's interests in getting the right applicant pool and we'll be working with USDA on those choices.
DAVIS: I appreciate that. It's been two years since the passage of the farm bill. This is something that I asked you about before.
MCCARTHY: That I am aware of.
DAVIS: I just don't think the EPA's actions, and again, I don't expect you to take away from every hearing our concerns, but I do expect the folks who are sitting behind you to follow up and my legislative intent was to get somebody from production agriculture, get somebody from agriculture to work with you so that maybe when you came here today you wouldn't have had to talk about how you're going to work to bridge that relationship, to bridge that gap with our agricultural community.
It's very disappointing and you can wonder why our Ag sector, when it's taken two years for a simple request to appoint somebody from agriculture to a Standing Advisory Board has not been done, why they don't trust the EPA. It's very, very disappointing on my end. I would hope that by the next time we meet and I know we will that we could see much more progress on this.
Two years has been long enough and agriculture deserves that attention that you mentioned you want to give it. You would prove it a lot by accomplishing this task and getting somebody on that Science Advisory Committee. So with that, I want to make my Chairman very happy by yielding back the remainder of my time.