Farming Out the Story on EPA Regulations

The "Farm Bill" (S. 3240, formally titled the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012) is fast becoming a magnet for a batch of anti-regulatory amendments. This is just the latest in a series of attempts to tack on damaging, unrelated provisions to legislation moving through the chamber.

It's not yet clear precisely how many amendments will be considered – out of the 200-some which have been filed – before the final vote on the Farm Bill is taken. But last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made his priorities clear: he intends to use the bill to shut down regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Some provisions in the Farm Bill contain important economic development assistance that would strengthen rural economies and help create jobs. It's hard to understand why anyone would want to jeopardize this aid and the bill’s passage by attaching controversial anti-regulatory amendments to the legislation.

The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that public protections strengthen our economy and create jobs while making people safer.  A new study shows that more than 90 percent of the time, those who claim differently don't bother to use any evidence. The phrase "job killer" has increased by 17,550 percent (no, that's not a typo) since 2007. But there's been no correlation between that phrase and the actual unemployment rate – though there is a correlation with political cycles.

Everyone should know by now that public protections aren't just good for Americans, they're also good for the American economy. Bowing to the assertions of corporations and conservative pundits allowed the financial sector to be deregulated and, according to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, that's what caused the 2008 financial and jobs crisis. And shouldn't that have been enough to get policymakers (not to mention the media) to stop farming out their responsibility to get the facts straight about regulations?

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