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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to request a hearing in Wyoming on regulations that could be detrimental to Wyoming ranchers.

Enzi also encouraged the EPA to release an interim revised draft of the Confined Animal Feeding Operation regulations rather than a final draft of the regulations. This would allow more opportunity for public input in the making of the rule. The extended comment period closes July 30, 2001.

Enzi believes the proposed current draft would net few environmental gains and would, "threaten to shut down almost all of Wyoming's traditional cattle ranching operations."

A copy of the letter is included below.

May 11, 2001

The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street SW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Whitman:

Unless significant changes are made to your agency's proposed Confined Animal Feeding Operation regulations, major shortcomings in the initial drafts of the rule threaten to shut down almost all of Wyoming's traditional cattle ranching operations. By redrafting the regulations and allowing for further comment and review by holding a hearing on this issue in Wyoming, your agency can go a long way toward restoring confidence in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in reducing the impact on Wyoming cattle operations.

My concern over the current progress of the proposed rule stems from reports that the EPA staff responsible for drafting the proposed regulations does not understand the way Wyoming ranchers manage their cattle, especially during Wyoming's harsh winter months. This lack of understanding has caused the proposed rule to become over-reaching in its impact. Instead of crafting a rule that would effectively regulate livestock feeding where environmental abuses are occurring, namely cattle feed lots, hog operations and chicken factory farms, the EPA could easily force Wyoming's small cattle operations to be managed as if they were full-sized feed lots. This new designation would require almost all of Wyoming's small producers to rebuild and redesign their historic family businesses. All of the cost and effort exerted on such an undertaking would net very little, if any, environmental gains.

I respectfully request that the EPA refrain from releasing a final draft of the proposed Confined Animal Feeding Operation regulations and that the EPA instead release an interim revised draft of the proposed rule in order to accommodate further input. I again strongly urge you to hold a hearing on this issue in Wyoming. If you have any questions about my requests or would like to learn more about Wyoming's cattle operations, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sincerely,

Michael B. Enzi
United States Senator