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Congressman Biggs Introduces the "Freedom for Farmers Act"

October 10, 2018
Press Release

GILBERT, ARIZONA – This week, Congressman Andy Biggs introduced the Freedom for Farmers Act to abolish the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) within one year of enactment while ensuring that critical public health safeguards are preserved. Although ATSDR was originally established to investigate toxic waste sites (known as “Superfunds”), it has recently begun to harass law-abiding agricultural companies. Congressman Biggs released the following statement:

“Like most Americans, I had never even heard of ATSDR until it began an investigation of Hickman’s Family Farms, Arizona’s largest poultry company. Even though Hickman’s fully complies with all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements, ATSDR continues an open-ended ammonia and hydrogen sulfide investigation of the company’s facilities in Arlington and Tonopah. My office has sent two separate letters to ATSDR over the past year asking the agency to explain the scope and purpose of its investigation; neither has received an adequate response. The time for patience is over.

Eliminating ATSDR will not jeopardize public health: there are already other government agencies, including EPA, that have the authority to investigate and regulate toxic chemicals. Additionally, my Freedom for Farmers Act ensures that the disease registry ATSDR had been maintaining will be relocated elsewhere within HHS, at the discretion of the Secretary. Since coming to Congress, I have been committed to rolling back overreaching and duplicative government agencies; the Freedom for Farmers Act continues this effort.”  

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Congressman Andy Biggs is a first-term Representative from Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, representing parts of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek. Congressman Biggs is a member of the House Judiciary and Science, Space, and Technology committees, and is the chairman of the Environment Subcommittee. He lives with his wife, Cindy, in Gilbert.