Senate committee holds confirmation hearing on EPA nominee
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing Wednesday on President Biden’s nomination of Michael Regan, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings said after the hearing, “If confirmed as EPA administrator, Mr. Regan inherits a long list of unfinished business with respect to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”
Jennings added, “We are grateful for Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and others for raising our priorities with Mr. Regan, and we appreciate his commitments to ‘fully follow the law,’ ‘apply the latest science,’ and provide greater ‘transparency’ about the decisions EPA makes regarding ethanol and the RFS.
“We also appreciate Mr. Regan acknowledging agriculture and biofuel will have a seat at the table in climate discussions,” Jennings concluded.
A large coalition of agriculture groups wrote Senate and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Thomas Carper, D-Del., and ranking member Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., that they support President Biden’s nominee of Michael Regan as administrator of the EPA.
CropLife America said, “Regan spoke to his background in agriculture and the importance of hearing from all stakeholders when evaluating environmental issues to create effective regulation. Increased transparency around EPA decisions, following science, a renewed focus on environmental justice, and the need for more funding punctuated many of Regan’s answers. His commitment to these issues coupled with the pledge to create consistent processes for businesses the EPA oversees is encouraging. During the hearing, Regan noted that U.S. farms and farmers’ needs vary depending on the crops grown, the soil structure, regional weather and more. This acknowledgment highlights the need for pesticides as one of the crop protection tools farmers and ranchers can use with a variety of farming techniques like conservation tillage and use of cover crops to continue growing healthy food for communities across the country.”
“Mr. Regan has made his intentions to engage with all stakeholders a priority,” said Chris Novak, CLA president and CEO. “In January, my agriculture CEO colleagues and I met with Mr. Regan to discuss the priorities we had previously shared with the Biden campaign. His understanding of, and history of working with, agriculture is an asset as his role as administrator will require him to work on pesticide issues that impact farmers, community health professionals, and consumers. We look forward to his confirmation and to having an open dialogue on regulatory issues.
One of the few emotional criticisms came from Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who said he would vote for Regan but criticized business interests as heavy polluters in poor and minority communities, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“I want an affirmation from you that you will not render farmworkers in America invisible,” Booker said, according to the Journal report. “Would you consider putting science ahead of big business when it comes to the chemical chlorpyrifos?”
Regan said he would help farmworkers. “We’ll be driven by science, and we’ll be driven by the rule of law,” he said.
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In response to the severe drought conditions in the West and Great Plains, the Agriculture Department this week announced that plans to help cover the cost of transporting feed for livestock that rely on grazing.