Randy Spronk, newly elected National Pork Producers Council president, wrote an article for Roll Call this week in which he says the U.S. Pork Industry believes that Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to be the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could provide a much-needed overhaul for the EPA, resulting in a better relationship the nation's pork producers.
Spronk says under McCarthy’s leadership as assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation for the past four years, the staff in the EPA Air Office has been, "smart, professional, transparent and trustworthy; they say what they mean and mean what they say. And for the stakeholders affected by the policies of that office, that has been, well, a breath of fresh air."
He goes on to say that even though the U.S. pork industry, which in 2006 negotiated a consent agreement with EPA’s Air Office to determine the emissions from farms, didn’t always agree with McCarthy and her department, she was consistently willing to reach out and listen to pork producers’ concerns and discuss solutions.
He points out that while not all EPA offices have traditionally worked as constructively with the pork industry, he is now optimistic about a change from an “us versus them” culture in the agency to one of “us AND them.”
"Administrator McCarthy has a genuine interest in learning about our industry and the challenges we face. Because of that, she is aware of our industry’s record of environmental stewardship. She is aware that we have invested time and money to educate producers on Clean Water Act compliance, which has led to significant improvements on the environmental management of hog farms and resulted in zero discharge operations," Spronk writes.
Spronk says even though challenging roads may lie ahead as agriculture continues to deal with situations like ongoing drought conditions, it is promising to U.S. hog farmers that the new EPA administrator will treat producers as partners and not adversaries.
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