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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Visits Georgia

Friday, June 5, 2020  
Posted by: Jennifer Addington
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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Visits Georgia


Last Wednesday, May 27, 2020, EPA Administrator Wheeler, along with Commissioner Gary Black, and EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker visited Southern Belle Farm to meet with farmers and many members of our Ag Community.  Jake Carter, of Southern Belle Farm, welcomed everyone to their family's farm. 


This event allowed EPA the opportunity to highlight their effort to work with agriculture over the last three and a half years, the EPA and FFA Partnership to advance the EPA's educational outreach effort, and commemorate their 50 years of working for a cleaner and healthier environment in America.  Most importantly, EPA Administrator Wheeler discussed some of the impacts of federal regulations on agriculture and the EPA's willingness to collaborate with agriculture for beneficial outcomes for agriculture and the environment.  Topics of particular interest to Horticulture included water, pesticides, and the EPA's effort to protect pollinators while working with the USDA on pollinator health.


Wheeler covered several aspects of their work surrounding water regulation.  He pointed to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), as proof of the EPA's commitment to scientifically sound decision making and a 'common sense approach' rather than working from emotion.  The final version of NWPR was filed in April of this year.  It will go into effect later this month.  It replaces the 2015 WOTUS rule, but it will not go unchallenged.  Environmental activists have already filed a lawsuit to overturn it.   Administrator Wheeler also brushed over the regulatory agenda around drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, new regulations for lead and copper pipes, and water testing as schools and daycares.


Wheeler also discussed the EPA's role in pesticide re-authorization.  He expressed his understanding of our need for a variety of pesticides to combat disease, insect, and weed pressure on crops, saying, "I know the importance of farmers having a diverse number of pesticides.  It's important, and we're trying to do that."  During this discussion, he mentioned the collaborative effort between EPA and USDA to protect pollinators, such as bees, hornets, and monarchs.  According to Wheeler, the EPA is particularly concerned with the lack of Monarch habitat, and the need for us to protect all pollinators.

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