Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ag Groups React to EPA Farmworker Standards Update


Ag groups are reacting to the Environmental Protection Agency’s final revisions to the Worker Protection Standard. The American Farm Bureau Federation worries the government is getting away from a science-based approach in guarding against risk. “Farm Bureau shares the agency’s desire to protect workers, but we are concerned that the agency is piling regulatory costs on farmers and ranchers that bear little if any relation to actual safety issues,” said Paul Schlegel, director of environment and energy policy for AFBF. AFBF filed extensive comments on the proposal more than a year ago. Then, as now, AFBF said EPA itself could not justify the regulation it was proposing. “We are hopeful the agency’s final rule will reflect our concerns and protect farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to promote a safe, productive environment,” Schlegel said. The Agricultural Retailers Association chimed in as well, saying the revision of the regulation is “based on unfounded assumptions and deliberately misleading cost analysis.” “Agricultural retailers pay a lot of attention to worker safety because they care about their employees, and accidents are costly for both employees and employers,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “The final rule overlooks improvements made in worker safety by the industry over the preceding 22 years, most significantly through development and adoption of precision agriculture and drift reduction technologies. It also discounts the significant efforts of state pesticide regulators.” ARA has identified several areas of concern with the new rule: – Opens new doors of potential liability without demonstrating their connection to worker safety – the introduction of an “authorized representative” concept, unclear requirements on who must possess “labeling” and when, and what even constitutes the required “labeling;” and many others... AgWired

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