As regular readers can attest, I have a lack of fondness for most self-touted “environmental” groups. Many REAL (in my book) environmental groups don’t even include the word in their names, including most farmer and ranchers, as they simply practice their pro-environment sustainability practices daily.
One group which attempts to wear the environmental badge is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). You’ve likely heard of them (Dirty Dozen vegetable list) but perhaps to a lesser extent their official mission: “to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.”
Who can argue with the first part about striving for healthier lives and the environment? For centuries, farmers have practiced high quality food production while reducing their environmental footprint. EWG’s vision of a healthier environment is suspect given their anti-agriculture opinions.
An e-mail several weeks ago from EWG sought public feedback on several issues related to the new political direction under President Trump, including the administration’s view on public health and the environment.
The online six-question “survey” sought public opinion on the president’s support for overhauling the federal Clean Water Rule which if it occurred could result in 100-plus Americans having unprotected drinking water, the EWG purports. The group also wants to gauge your thoughts on new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt who wants to rid business of a plethora of federal regulations.
Other questions target synthetic pesticide use, and seek opposition to ‘former fertilizer salesman’ Sonny Perdue (Georgia’s former governor) who is likely to serve as the nation’s next agriculture secretary. Perdue is endorsed by a long list of agricultural groups (a.k.a. farmers and ranchers) but evidently not touted by EWG.
Then there’s the last EWG question which contains no query yet a plea to send $10 or more to support EWG causes. You get the drift.
Agriculture has dealt with the liking of EWG and related groups for years. The mistrustful relationship will likely become brasher under the new administration amid jealousy that agriculture may finally yield a less regulated, more business-friendly climate.
If this holds true, agriculture should relish the times close at hand as the road will inevitably get rocky again. Tighten your seatbelts!