Westmoreland farmers tell state senator about burden of ever-increasing federal and Pa. regulations
The ever-increasing number of federal and state conservation regulations is hurting the livelihoods of Westmoreland County farmers, state Sen. Kim Ward was told on Tuesday.
Ward, a Hempfield Township Republican, traveled to Rick Ebert's 400-acre farm along Livermore Road in Derry Township to listen to farmers' concerns over existing and proposed regulations under the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection that create additional financial burdens.
“I'd like to see these departments use a little more common sense when it comes to some of these regulations,” said Ebert of Derry Township, vice president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
Fred Slezak, a third-generation farmer who raises grain on his farm of more than 400 acres off Route 119 in Salem Township, said he longs for the days when a phone call was able to settle a potential issue instead of dealing with numerous federal and state bureaucracies.
Instead, Slezak recalled opening a certified letter in July from the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Services bureau informing him he was no longer in federal compliance with soil conservation regulations after inspectors discovered a “four-inch deep gully on a parcel.”
“Now, I've been a no-till farm for the last 20 years, and just had a conservation plan approved in 2007...yet they felt it necessary to send me a registered letter because they found a four-inch gully caused by a recent storm,” Slezak said.
Slezak, who theorizes the letter may be the result of a regulatory agency power struggle, told Ward that he has applied to the agency for a reconsideration of the issue in order to avoid a potential $1,000 citation.
Ebert, who with his brother, Bill, operates a dairy farm with 80 milking cows and also grows corn, hay and soybeans, said the state farm bureau has been keeping an eye on proposed changes to the Clean Water Act regarding the Chesapeake Bay watershed and believes each state, not the federal government, knows best how to implement water quality goals.
“We're all for good, clean water ... but a lot of this is way over the top,” Ebert said.
In addition to soil and water issues, Ebert noted the state farm bureau has been a voice for farmers on a number of issues including farmland preservation, commodity pricing, tort reform, property tax reduction, health insurance reform, Sunday hunting, water rights and wildlife management since 1950.
Ward said that such regulations need to be administered at an equal “standard, not to a particular ideology.”
“And I believe (state Department of Environmental Protection) Secretary Michael Krancer has tried to get that across in the department,” she said.
The roundtable was organized by the National Federation of Independent Business as part of its project, Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations.
More information is available at http://stopthetidalwave.org.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt upsets No. 8 Notre Dame to snap losing streak
- Large pipelines proposed to carry gas from shale formations
- City crews getting ready for winter storm expected Sunday, Monday
- Washington Road accident in Mt. Lebanon injures five people
- Rooney says Pittsburgh is ‘good place’ for next northern Super Bowl
- HOF finalist Bettis ‘behind everything’ in 2005 Super Bowl run
- No. 17 WVU rolls past Texas Tech, 77-58
- UPMC researcher who died of cyanide poisoning committed suicide
- Penguins finally break through, defeat Devils at Prudential Center
- Dungy, Greene represent more Steelers ties in hall of fame voting
- $800K spent to revamp California University of Pa. president’s home