The New EPA Chief’s Phone Right Now…

Mar 16, 2021

It’s official. The Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has its new top dog.

North Carolina’s Michael Regan got the Senate nod last week, and he’s got a line out the office door of people who want his ear on ag-related issues.

With support from over 20 agricultural groups, including American Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council, and others, he’s been lauded as having ‘an established record of listening to all stakeholders, including farmers and ranchers.’

But the real work is just beginning.

Two big ag tasks await him: the Renewable Fuel Standard [RFS] updates and the EPA’s overall regulatory strategy.

The Biden Administration’s aggressive climate agenda puts Regan at the crosshairs of an RFS debate. Ag groups expect his support for biofuel requirements while refiners want him to ease the blending obligations due to the pandemic’s blow to travel and fuel demand.

On the regulatory front, pesticide registrations are a hot topic getting lots of buzz.

New House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott of Georgia noted the importance of those processes to ‘remain trusted and science-based.’ At the same time, CropLife American CEO Chris Novak added it’s an ‘essential need for strong risk-based regulation.’

But not everyone is toasting the new EPA chief. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst voted ‘nay,’ and her gut instinct has her leery.

The quick rollback of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and a goal to transition the federal fleet to electric vehicles has her concerned about what else may pop up on the EPA’s 2021 docket under President Biden’s watch.