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Proposed environmental rules could present burden to ag industry in GA

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a number of new regulations aimed at reducing the occurrence of incidents connected to pesticide exposure among agricultural workers and those who handle pesticides. Included in the proposal were rules establishing a minimum age requirement of 16 for pesticide-handlers; off-limit buffer zones around fields treated with pesticides; training requirements for workers; and enhanced regulatory compliance rules.

While the rules all have the purpose of making things safer for workers—clearly a good thing—opponents say that the rules don’t add any significant protections and that they impose more legal hurdles for farmers by increasing workplace obligations and opening up the possibility that farmers will be sued by third parties in connection with the proposed regulations. Not to mention the costs of implementing the rules.

In addition to agricultural leaders, the Georgia Green Industry Association has spoken out against the proposed regulations, primarily because of the cost burden the will impose. In any case, if the proposed rules are passed, they will be binding on all affected businesses. In that case, compliance is not an option regardless of policy disagreements.

Companies who are bound by various environmental regulations can sometimes find them confusing to interpret and implement. When this happens, it can be helpful to consult with an experienced environmental law attorney for guidance. A knowledgeable environmental law attorney can help not only in implementing an efficient approach to compliance, but also with any legal challenges that come up in the course of the operation of the business.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle, “Proposed new EPA pesticide rules are toxic, say Georgia agriculture leaders,” David Allison, September 4, 2014. 

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