"I am ruling out the need for us to move directly to a regulatory mechanism when we have folks stepping up and are willing to do the conservation measures," she told reporters after the visits. Jackson has been under fire from Republicans and agribusiness groups amid rumors the agency was going to regulate dust, pesticides and water pollution, Brasher reports. Jackson says she realizes "there's been fear, real fear, that we would take what we're doing in the Chesapeake Bay and translate it here verbatim without regard to what is going on the ground."
"Runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus from farms damages water quality in Iowa and elsewhere in the Mississippi basin and contributes to a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico," Brasher writes. A recent Environmental Working Group analysis reported Iowa soil is being washed away at a much higher rate than government estimates had indicated. "We've been working at this a long time now with voluntary programs," Craig Cox, EWG's senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said. "The problems aren't getting better and in some cases they're getting quite a bit worse." (Read more)
UPDATE, April 22: Jackson reiterated on her visit that EPA does not plan to regulate farm dust, reports Ken Anderson of Brownfield Network. Jackson debunked other "myths" about the EPA and farmers, Ag Week reports.