By Mace Thornton
Two high-ranking Trump administration officials – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – made guest appearances Tuesday morning in Washington during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Council of Presidents meeting. Pruitt discussed with state Farm Bureau presidents the EPA’s recent decision to begin rescinding the Waters of the U.S. rule, as well as other issues of concern to America’s farmers and ranchers.
“EPA is returning power to the states and standing with farmers who have been hurt by misguided policies of the past,” Pruitt said. Following the meeting, Pruitt said, “The farming industry deserves regulatory certainty and I committed that to them today. The group expressed gratitude that their voices are being heard for the first time in a long time and I look forward to an ongoing partnership with the agriculture community in the future.”
During his speech, Zinke outlined the importance of supporting multiple uses of the nation’s public lands. As an example, he said revenue from previous energy leases would have paid the backlog of expenses of the entire national parks system, with $3 billion left over for reinvestment. Zinke also spoke briefly about the challenges presented by wild horse overpopulation on public lands.
“Believe it or not, I work for you, the people,” Zinke told the presidents, a line that was greeted with applause.
Mace Thornton is executive director of communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation.