The new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, will be coming to Indiana to meet with Indiana farmers according to Senator Joe Donnelly. In a press briefing on Thursday, he said the trip will take place to help the regulators in Washington get a better idea of what agriculture is all about, “I can’t think of a better way for the EPA to understand agriculture than for the new administrator to be sitting at one of our farms in Indiana talking with Indiana farm families.” The Freshman Senator and member of the Senate Ag Committee said this meeting will not be a gripe session but a chance help regulators better understand farmers, “Who is a better steward of the land than the farmer with his own family living on that ground? We need to get the folks who run the EPA back to a better understanding of reality.”
Donnelly said most farmers do not trust the EPA and feel the agency is out to get agriculture. The release of private farmer data and the use of drones to spy on farming operations has enraged farmers nationwide. McCarthy’s visit will be an attempt to build a bridge of communication and restore a measure of trust between the regulators and those they regulate, “It will be a chance for farmers to ask the EPA why they need this information and to learn how it help better protect our environment.” When the visit will take place and where she will visit has not been announced but Donnelly says it will be happening soon, “She told me by the end of the year, and I told her the sooner the better.”
Donnelly got the attention of the EPA when he and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley announced intentions to introduce a bill that would prevent the EPA from releasing farmer data to the public. Appointed by President Obama in 2009 as Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. Previously, McCarthy served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. During her career, which spans over 30 years, she has worked at both the state and local levels on critical environmental issues and helped coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation, and the environment.