Lying over spilled milk

A Washington Post story today notes that EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has been hauled in to testify before Congress seven times this month, which the agency says some sort of record.

And anyone who’s been following along knows that much of Jackson’s time — both inside these hearings and out — has been spent dispelling myths and rumors about EPA regulations.

One of these charges — that agency rules governing containment of oil spills would also apply to milk spilled at dairies — surfaced at a March 3 hearing, as well as in a congressman’s newsletter to constituents, the New York Times reports.

It’s also appeared on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, a Thomas Sowell column, and on the Fox Business channel:

Sure makes for a great outrage segment, doesn’t it? Problem is, it isn’t true:

In testimony before Congress on Thursday, Ms. Jackson declared that the new rule cited by Republicans would, in fact, exempt dairy containers from the regulations that govern oil facilities — rules that have been on the books for nearly 40 years.

“It was our work with the dairy industry that prompted E.P.A. to develop an exemption and make sure the standards of the law are met in a common-sense way,” she said. “All of E.P.A.’s actions have been to exempt these containers. And we expect this to become final very shortly.”

The milk kerfuffle is one of five farm-related myths that Jackson debunked in her testimony before the House Agriculture committee last week. The others include supposed regulations on dust and pesticides drifting from farms, limits on pollution from nutrients in fertilizer, and, of course, the ever-popular tax on cow farts.

It raises the question — if there’s such an airtight case to be made against EPA regulations, why is so much of it based on flat-out misinformation?

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