EPA Spilled Milk Regulation Indicative of Broader Problem

EPA to Regulate Spilled Milk.

No, it’s not a headline from The Onion. The Wall Street Journal editorial board explains:

Two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that subjects dairy producers to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure program, which was created in 1970 to prevent oil discharges in navigable waters or near shorelines. Naturally, it usually applies to oil and natural gas outfits. But the EPA has discovered that milk contains “a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil,” as the agency put it in the Federal Register.

In other words, the EPA thinks the next blowout may happen in rural Vermont or Wisconsin. Other dangerous pollution risks that somehow haven’t made it onto the EPA docket include leaks from maple sugar taps and the vapors at Badger State breweries.

The EPA rule requires farms—as well as places that make cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream and the like—to prepare and implement an emergency management plan in the event of a milk catastrophe. Among dozens of requirements, farmers must train first responders in cleanup protocol and build “containment facilities” such as dikes or berms to mitigate offshore dairy slicks.

These plans must be in place by November, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is even running a $3 million program “to help farmers and ranchers comply with on-farm oil spill regulations.” You cannot make this stuff up.

If the administration truly believes regulating Häagen-Dazs suppliers will help prevent another BP-scale disaster, it’s no wonder a federal judge decided to hold it in contempt this week for is gross mishandling of the Gulf spill response. These dubious decisions reinforce the notion of just how far current regulatory overreach extends.

This is just the latest example of regulatory overreach. EPA knows no limits to intrusion in our lives or the fact that it should be allocating its resources to the risks that produce the largest return to the public. Obviously, the administrator doesn’t understand more bang for the buck.