Monday, July 2, 2012

New Meaning to "Flyover States"

So I have three different paths I could take with this week’s Country Music Monday song. 
  1. I could go with the unsurprising – The Midwest is not a bunch of flyover states, we are the heartland of America and offer so much to our country in terms of lifestyle, beauty, and of course AGRICULTURE. But, that is what you’re all expecting me to write about, so PASS.
  2. I could do the unspeakable, and yell at Jason Aldean for leaving out Nebraska in the song’s lyrics.  But there is no way I could be mad at such a good looking hunk of country music man. So, PASS.
  3. For this week we are going to be talking politics.  Yep, I said politics, everyone’s FAVORITE subject. But the politics that I am going to be talking about may be a tad unfamiliar to many of you.  I am talking about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their recent unwarned, and in my opinion inappropriate and waste of tax payer dollars, aerial flights over Nebraska rancher’s property. 
So before I get to really rolling here is a little background of this whole issue.

A few months ago it was discovered that the EPA has been conducted small aircraft (NOT DRONES like the media has been reporting) flights over cattle producers and taking photos from the sky.  The reason they say for this is to find producers who are in violation of the regulations.  In simple terms, checking to make sure that no feedlot run off is spilling into fresh water areas or things like that.

Now you probably are thinking well how is this a bad thing? Let me first say, beef producers in Nebraska are committed to protecting their environment and being in compliance with all regulations and they are committed to making sure that our water, soil, and air are protected in all ways.  They are in no way trying to hide from regulation. 
So now let me give you some facts as to why cattle producers, Nebraska Delegation (Mike Johanns, Ben Nelson, Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith, and Lee Terry), and many of the agriculture community are upset and why the EPA aerial flyovers are inappropriate and in my words, a waste.
  1. The NDEQ (Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality) was even unaware of the flights occurring, and they even feel as if EPA is overstepping because the NDEQ is the authority in Nebraska.
  2. EPA and NDEQ currently have the right to inspect any cattle producer currently under regulation at any time, so the flights are a waste of time and tax payer dollars.
  3. The EPA fly overs are done secretively with no warning to producers. (Many say well the police patrol from the sky so it’s the same thing. No it is not because the roads have clearly marked signs that say aerial surveillance zone.)
  4. When the EPA conducts flyovers and takes photos, majority of the time private property such as home steads are also taken in the photo. 
  5. Many times things are not as they appear, especially from the sky.  In many cases thus far, EPA has found, “what they thought” were violations, but if they would have only been on the actual feed lot, on the ground, they could have easily seen that there was nothing wrong in the first place.
  6. Nebraska Delegation sent a letter to EPA Region 7 officials asking for answers about the fly over program.  The EPA has been secretive, vague, sluggish, and practically unresponsive to citizens and government concerns.
I could go on for hours about this topic, but don't worry I won't because I know I have probably already lost half of the readers by know anyway. So my finals thoughts about this whole thing is that this flyover program is creeping way to close to “Big Brother is watching you” territory.  The government is getting way to intrusive and it’s just wrong. I am in no way trying to protect those few cattle producers who are violating the laws and creating environmental problems, but I am protecting those cattle producers who do AMAZING work and create great steaks for all of us to enjoy. So I say let the NDEQ do its job and BACK OF EPA!  

that's what she said...

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