In March 2013 the EPA Region 10, under the direction of Administrator Dennis McLerran, issued a report placing direct blame on Yakima Valley dairy farms for the nitrate levels in lower Yakima Valley groundwater. The report was to support enforcement action which subsequently occurred with the Administrative Order on Consent signed by dairy farms targeted by the EPA. The report was the primary evidence presented in court in the citizen action against these farmers led by Charlie Tebbutt of Eugene, Oregon. The result of the enforcement action and the lawsuits have been devastating for Yakima dairy farmers financially. One farm alone reports the costs of compliance at over $10 million including legal fees paid to Mr. Tebbutt. Some farms have been forced out of business by lawsuits and threats of lawsuits, others have quit farming count this as one of several factors making farming economically impossible.The tragic fact is that the conclusions of the report are not based on science. The EPA violated the federal guidelines for conducting scientific studies and conducted the data gathering with the clear intention of placing blame and not discovering the truth about sources of nitrate contamination.
Don’t take our word for it. Experienced scientists from multiple government agencies, universities and consulting firms evaluated the report. The verdict is unanimous as you can see from the reports published here: this report is falsified. It’s conclusions are invalid.
Seen in the context of other actions by the EPA Region 10 under administrator Dennis McLerran, this falsified report presents compelling and indisputable evidence of the animosity demonstrated by this government official toward farming. This is the same administrator who approved, over the objections of his staff, paying nearly $500,000 in taxpayer funds to support a public campaign of lies and misinformation against farmers with the purpose of passing new laws that would remove much valuable farmland from farmers. That campaign, “What’s Upstream,” is now well known nationally as a vivid example of a government agency operating without accountability and against the interests of its citizens.SFF EPA Summary of Science Critiques