Kansas Rancher Takes Realities of Overregulation to Washington
WASHINGTON – The Senate Western Caucus and the Congressional Western Caucus today hosted a hearing to directly address the federal government’s role in creating obstacles to economic growth and eroding property rights in the West. As such, the hearing was coined Washington Obstacles to Prosperity and Property Rights in the West. Mark Knight, a cattleman and a grain farmer from Lyons, Kan., testified on behalf of the Kansas Livestock Association and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to express the realities of overregulation in rural America.
“Like death by a thousand cuts, each regulation adds costs to my operation, eventually bleeding us to death,” said Knight of the onslaught of regulations coming from the Obama administration. “Unfortunately, the list of harmful regulations bleeding agriculture to death goes on and on.”
Knight cited several examples of regulations negatively impacting agriculture. He said the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current standard for coarse particulate matter, also known as dust, costs cattlemen in Western regions of the country a lot of money. While Knight said cattlemen are encouraged by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s promise to back away from the possibility of doubling the current dust standard, permanent relief can only be accomplished by the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2012 (H.R. 1633), which passed through the U.S. House of Representatives and awaits action in the Senate.
The EPA’s reporting rule on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, proposed last year, would require cattlemen to report a laundry list of information to the agency. EPA intends to require producers to upload this information to its website. Knight fears the unintended consequences of this public disclosure of private information.
“This rule puts my own family at risk. My house is a few hundred feet from our feedyard. Information about the feedyard is information about my home. Any acts of terrorism or harassment occurring on or near my feedlot have the potential to endanger my family,” said Knight. “It seems EPA would rather put our food system in jeopardy than come to the table with industry and truly work with us in solving any concerns.”
Knight told the policymakers of the increased costs associated with the dramatic increase in regulations. In fact, he noted the decision not to expand his current operation was based solely on avoidance of “regulatory headaches.”