October 12, 2018 – Freeing Farmers from Regulatory Overreach
What is the problem?
A federal agency is trying to expand its regulatory scope and is attacking an Arizona egg producer. If allowed to grow its power over the agricultural industry, this agency will cause consumer prices to increase, jobs to be lost, and maybe even the shuttering of these important agricultural enterprises.
The ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) was created to monitor environmental disaster areas known as Superfund sites. Without legislative permission, ATSDR has chosen to burden Arizona’s egg industry and will soon be training its sights on farming and ranching operations throughout the country. The agency must be reined in.
The functions of ATSDR are duplicative. Other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have the authority to both investigate and regulate Superfunds and other toxic hazards. In the meantime, and perhaps because it understands that it is largely superfluous, ATSDR is determined to find additional functions to try and justify its existence.
Even though Arizona’s largest egg producer complies with all EPA and state environmental requirements, ATSDR is pursuing an open-ended investigation of the company’s operations that has dragged on for almost a year. My office has sent two separate letters to ATSDR asking the agency to clarify the purpose and scope of the investigation. The agency has been unable to adequately justify the investigation and its attempts to expands its power.
What am I doing about ATSDR?
I introduced the Freedom for Farmers Act earlier this week to abolish ATSDR while keeping the disease registry the agency maintains, which will be transferred elsewhere within the Department of Health and Human Services. This bill is awaiting further action in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
What are they saying?
“We applaud the efforts of Congressman Biggs to both save family farms from the burden of unnecessary over-regulation and to save federal dollars by eliminating duplicative actions by different agencies within the government.” — Hickman’s Family Farms