Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Did President Obama Read the Janzen Ag Law Blog?

Well, maybe.  Last March, after much controversy swirled about whether the EPA was going to regulate milk containers under its Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure rule (SPCC), I paraphrased EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's response as:  "No need to cry over spilled milk."  The EPA eventually exempted milk from the SPCC rule, and dairy farmers breathed a sigh of relief.  

Tonight, in the State of Union address, President Barack Obama essentially said the same thing:
There is no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. In fact, I've approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his. I've ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don't make sense. We've already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years. We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill- because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk. 
I'm confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder. . . . 
President Obama, I hope that you are reading this blog.  There are plenty of other agricultural regulations that could  use the same common sense approach applied to the "spilled milk" issue.  See, for example, the Department of Labor's proposed child labor restrictions.

1 comment:

  1. It doesn’t really save any money to refrain from undertaking a brand new enforcement approach to a 40 year old rule. That's not a "reform."

    Also, is this really a good example of how $10 billion can be "saved"? That number probably needs a better explanation than milk. Exxon spent an estimated $2 billion cleaning up the Exxon Valdez spill of about 11 million gallons of oil. Surely cleaning up milk costs substantially less than cleaning up crude oil in Prince William Sound, but let’s go with that number. That’s $182 per gallon. It would take 55 million one-gallon milk jugs spilled to equal $10 billion in cleanup costs at the Valdez rate.


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