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AFIA: What’s on the Horizon for EPA in 2021?

How Biden’s focus on climate change may impact the feed industry

EPA logo Jan 2021

During AFIA’s Feed Education Program on Thursday, Christian Richter, principal with The Policy Group, discussed how EPA priorities may change under the new Biden Administration in 2021.

The first executive orders issued by Biden on January 20 showed a government-wide initiative on climate policy, says Richter.

“Biden issued fewer executive orders than Trump in his first few days, but several were focused on the environment,” says Richter. “We saw Trump rollback a lot of Obama’s regulations, and now we might be seeing a roll back of Trump’s.”

Trump has appointed Former Secretary of State John Kerry to be the first-ever United States Climate Envoy. The White House Climate Czar will be Gina McCarthy, who will coordinate federal agencies such as the EPA, agriculture, transportation and energy.

Richter noted that McCarthy has worked with the feed industry in various rulemaking projects and was seen as very helpful.

How will Biden’s focus on climate impact the feed industry? Tom Vilsack, nominated to lead the Department of Agriculture, is a “known hand in Washington,” says Richter.

“We will see a lot of EPA action on climate, but most of it will be in the power and vehicle sector,” says Richter. “While agriculture is very important, it won’t see much EPA action early on.”

Other initiatives the EPA will be focused on that may impact the feed & grain industry:

  • The Threat of PFAS – a.k.a. Forever Chemicals
    EPA taking closer look, especially at the state level, at regulating PFAS, which are found in a wide range of consumer products that people use daily such as cookware, pizza boxes and stain repellants.
  • Clean Water Act (WOTUS)
    Trump rolled back Obama rules, and Biden will take a closer look at the Trump version of the rule. "We may see a revision or rollback see in coming months," says Richter.

Looking forward, Richter says as EPA second-tier appointees come in to manage the various offices, you’ll see more attention to their agendas.

“The EPA will most likely be revisiting animal agriculture,” he says. “There will be more activity/interest in chemicals, including agricultural chemicals.

“We’re only at the beginning of the Biden agenda and we’ll have to check in as the agenda unfolds,” he says.

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