As I travel our state, I regularly meet farmers across North Carolina who are working day in and day out to fuel our state’s thriving agriculture economy.
Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, and as a U.S. senator, it is my job to make sure federal policies work for our farmers. Too often in my conversations with farmers across the state, I hear about the burdensome rules and regulations that they must comply with that distract from their ability to operate their farms.
Take Allen McLauren, a cotton farmer in Laurel Hill. Allen has spoken with me about a redundant Environmental Protection Agency regulation on pesticides. Because pesticides are already strictly regulated under a different set of rules, this regulation has little or no environmental or public health benefits. It does, however, require Allen to spend time and money to receive a permit before applying pesticides on his farm.
With pesticides already strictly regulated by EPA, I agree with Allen that another layer of red tape is duplicative and unnecessary.
To help relieve this regulatory burden, I introduced a bipartisan bill with Republican Senator Mike Crapo from Idaho called the Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA). The bill would restore the EPA’s system for regulating pesticides that had been effective for nearly 40 years.
This bill is not about whether pesticides should be regulated. Quite the contrary. It’s about reinstating the most effective and efficient way of doing so without putting an unnecessary regulatory burden on our farmers.
This legislation will enable farmers to focus on farming rather than spending time filling out paperwork. It will also allow state and local governments to spend limited resources on more pressing environmental needs.
SEPA is good environmental policy and it’s good common sense. Farmers should spend their time farming, not dealing with unnecessary paperwork, and I will continue working with my colleagues to support our farmers and eliminate redundant regulations that add unnecessary costs during these difficult economic times.
“Catching Up With Kay” is a new tool that Senator Hagan's office is using to keep North Carolinians informed about Senator Hagan's work in Washington and her travels throughout the state.