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KayDee Gilkey EPA’s New Pesticide Rules For Farm Workers
by KayDee Gilkey, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: September 29, 2015

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Yesterday I spent 30 minutes listening to a press conference call given by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez about the new revisions to EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standards. Maybe it is because it was Monday or maybe because of all the angst and frustration over WOTUS — not to mention the DOL train wreck of proposed changes to the H2A Guest Worker program —- but I found the language and the way both agency heads approached these changes to be rather insulting —- it seemed that the word enforcement was repeatedly used by the DOL Secretary Perez.

Similar to any industry, there are some farm owners that don’t do the right thing — HOWEVER, I found it rather offensive as I thought of the many hardworking and supportive farm and orchard owners I know that care for and provide safe working environments for their workers currently. Here is Secretary Perez discussing enforcement of the new rules.

Perez: “Of course regulations are only as effective as the government’s capacity and willingness to enforce them. As I noted their success depends on people knowing and understanding their rights and so moving forward we will be on the ground. Our wage and hour division for instance is on the ground and is in the field conducting investigations. So we will use that access to spread the word about the dangers of pesticides and distribute EPA information about the new protections.”

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