It's been a week to beat up on the Environmental Protection Agency.
First, on Wednesday, Rep. Mike Simpson hailed his House appropriation subcommittee's efforts to slice $1.4 billion out of the proposed EPA budget. Then, today, Sen. Jim Risch issued a news release focusing on just one of the 73 proposed amendments to the Farm Bill.
It was an EPA-related amendment, which would have restricted the agency's ability to conduct aerial surveillance over farms and businesses. Fifty-six senators supported the amendment, but it needed 60 votes to pass.
“I am very disappointed that we failed to prohibit secretive flights by the federal government over private property. If your property is going to be searched, you have a right to know about it. The EPA has not been willing to provide information to property owners about these flights,” said Risch. “I am also concerned about the storage and use of images captured from these flights. It is unclear if strong standards are in place to prevent their misuse.”
Any surprise that, as the Idaho Republican Party holds its 2012 convention this week in Twin Falls, one of the proposed amendments would call for disbanding the EPA? Simpson and Risch do nothing to tamp down the anti-EPA sentiment in their party's ranks.
As for the Farm Bill itself, it passed on a bipartisan 64-35 vote. Risch and fellow Idaho GOP Sen. Mike Crapo voted no, lamenting the bill's five-year costs of nearly $500 billion.