Saturday, September 24, 2011

Don't Say 'Hay' About the EPA

"We didn't say nothin' Boss, honest, we didn't"
About a week ago I wrote a post entitled,  EPA: "Hay, Hay, What'd You Say!?!?" .  It was based upon an article I found online.  It was about a small independent cattle farmer making CRAZY claims against EPA regulations and the total awesomeness that is a Federal Bureaucracy.  If you want to read this original post, click the link above.  I don't want to re-write THAT post because I've moo-ved on (and somehow re-writing it again would be strangely redundant). 

I want to spend a few moments today discussing what happened AFTER I wrote the above post.

Five days later, one of the Moderators over at Grumpy's site received a message from Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator (yes, THAT EPA) via Kris Lancaster, also of the EPA. 

[MoosNote:  I work for the EPA also, but I can't talk about it, Region 7 Security Protocals, you know...]

On September 20th, 2011 I received a call from Grumpy.  Unfortunately, he reached my youngest son as I was still at work at my REAL job.  Walking in from the garage at 5:45pm, the boy delivered the message I always wanted to hear, "Dad, the government's after you!"

O-K-A-Y...  I guess I could have jumped out the window of my home, but as it's a raised-ranch (not 'quite' two stories) I'd only twist an ankle and perhaps mash a shrub or two as my bulk plummetted all 12 feet to the ground.  And my wife really likes those shrubs.

"Um, what are you talking about?", I asked.

"Dad, a guy called and he said that someone at the government wrote back about your hay blog."


"I told him to call back so he could leave you the message.", my son said.

"And when is he (whoever 'he' is) going to call back?", I asked.

"He already did.  I told him I wouldn't pick up so he can leave you a message on the answering machine.", says the once-amusing boy.

"Can I take my tie off first? I may need something to hang myself with after I listen to the message." I reply.

"Sure, I guess, but he was laughing when he called the first time.  The second time he sounded a little more serious." says the boy who wants me to 'freak' for no good reason.  (He's sooooooo like me!)

"Thanks kidd-o, go up in your room and play with something sharp.  I'm going to listen to the message, then I'm going to cook dinner, and if the message is 'not a good thing', we'll be changing our name to 'Obama'.  Because if you're last name's Obama, you can pretty much do whatever you want and no one can say 'Boo' to you.  Oh, and remember to say 'Hi' to Aunt Zeituni and Uncle Omar when they're over for Thanksgiving..." I laugh.

"Dad, who are they?" he asks.

"Your new relatives.  I'll tell you later.  Hey, dude, you speak Kenyan?"   


"Well, we need to get you one of those Rosetta Stone language courses - soon.  Okay, I'll listen to the message and let you know what's up.  Oh, and pack a small bag in case we need to get 'invisible'..." 

I'm such a good Dad.

I listened to the message.  It was Grumpy in Florida.  His message was short and to the point, "Mike, your post on the EPA attracted some attention; we got a comment from them online."

Say it with me now:  "My name is Michael Obama.  My name is Michael Obama.  My name is Michael Obama, you killed my father, prepare to die!" 
(You can't squeeze enough obtuse references to The Princess Bride into a normal post, so, sure, why not?)

So what did Karl, via Kris, both of the EPA have to say?  Something interesting.  Something hard to argue with.  Something profound in a 'circular-kind-of-way'. 

Basically, Karl, Kris, whoever, said that the EPA never used the word "Hay" in their "Finding of Violation Order For Compliance".  Which is odd, since the nice cow-farming-man-quoted in Kansas said that the EPA declared "Hay" as a pollutant back on September 1st, 2011. 

Here is Karl / Kris response to my post, in its entirety:
Kris Lancaster
September 20, 2011 - 15:04

EPA Never Said Hay is a Pollutant
By Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator

A Kansas feedlot operator is trying to make hay by falsely claiming that EPA defined hay as a water pollutant.

The owner of the Callicrate Feeding Company has been spinning a “hay-as-pollutant” myth through the blogosphere for a couple of weeks now . While the company is certainly entitled to its own opinions about EPA, the company is not entitled to its own set of facts. [Italics courtesy of Moos.  It's interesting that I've so much 'Channeling of Daniel Patrick Moynihan -D, NY' lately.]

Here are the facts. On August 15, EPA’s Region 7, which includes Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and nine tribal nations, took action to correct several serious environmental violations at the Callicrate Feeding Company in St. Francis, Kansas. EPA found water permit violations at Callicrate’s operation that needed to be addressed. The compliance order was not based on hay. Nor would EPA have issued such an action based on hay.

To be clear: The order had nothing to do with hay. At no place in the 11-page order is the word “hay” mentioned. Nor is there mention of alfalfa or grass.

EPA cited the Callicrate operation for failure to control harmful runoff, maintain adequate manure storage capacity, keep adequate operation records, and meet the state and federal requirements of its nutrient management plan. Compliance Order (PDF) (11 pp, 1.5MB, About PDF)

EPA inspectors observed silage, and dried distillers grains within the uncontrolled feedstock storage area.

When stored inappropriately, the silage and grains can turn into a liquid material that contains contaminants detrimental to water quality. EPA inspectors also observed slaughter wastes being stored outside in an uncontrolled area. The EPA order was based on those contaminants and the other violations mentioned above.

The Callicrate facility is permitted by the State of Kansas for a capacity of 12,000 head of beef cattle and had 3,200 head at the time of the inspection. Under EPA definitions, 1,000 head of beef is considered a large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). This is not a small operation. The permitted capacity puts the company in the top five percent of the largest animal feeding operations in Region 7.

This action by EPA was issued to correct problems. Less than two weeks after the order was issued, Callicrate’s attorney informed us that the company had already taken action to address the problems identified in EPA’s order.
We have some indication of how other producers have perceived this fracas in a feedlot. Region 7’s offer to meet with Kansas cattle producers to discuss CAFO enforcement was warmly received and we will be meeting within days. Drover/Cattle Network published an article debunking the “hay-as-pollutant” myth. 

As that article concludes: “But as the industry confronts and negotiates these genuine regulatory issues, R-CALF’s claim that ‘EPA declares hay a pollutant to antagonize small and mid-sized U.S. cattle feeders’ is unnecessary, inflammatory hyperbole.”
--Brooks is administrator for U.S. EPA Region 7 that includes Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and nine tribal nations.

First, let me apologize for the long stretch of 'un-funny' verbiage above.  It's government-speak, and not meant to be entertaining - especially to the recipient of such a communication.

Second, I find it interesting that the EPA references the article found on Drover / Cattle Network 'de-bunking' the "Hay as Pollutant" myth. 


It was written by the EPA.  (Yeah, the same EPA referenced everywhere above)  You'll find the exact same post (as above) on the Drover / Cattle Network website, written by...  You guessed it...  our friend, Karl (not sure where Kris was for this one).

It would be like me telling you that I have a family of Conservative Liberals in my basement and quoting an article I found online (written by me) which stated that I, you know, have Conservative Liberals IN my basement.  [MoosNote:  This is an excellent idea for a subsequent post, although I'd better change the subjects of the post to 'Space Aliens' because NO ONE is going to believe that I have Conservative Liberals in my basement now, or ever, for that matter...]

Did the EPA use the word "Hay" in their write-up of Callicrate?  No, they did not.  I read the 11 page document.  The word "Hay" does not appear anywhere within the electronic document. 

Mike Callicrate 'took liberties' when he answered a question from an audience member on September 1st, 2011.  Just like Solyndra 'took liberties' when they told the Federal Government that their financials were stable and they 'promised' that our loaning them over one-half a BILLION dollars was a 'good' idea. 

"Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...  Oh, you must be from the government!!!  Are you here to help???" 

But here's the thing, Mike Callicrate isn't lying down for the EPA.  He released a statement on his website which addresses the report given to him by Karl / Kris / whomever. 

You can read the entire response at his website by clicking here:  Mike Callicrate's Response to EPA

Between you, me, and the fence post, all this 'Hay' about 'hay' or 'not hay' is the real issue.  I've looked at Mr. Callicrate's website. 

Here are a few of the topics he's discussed on his site recently:

Questioning this President, Democrat & Republican policy, the EPA AND describing 'Eating' as Moral? 

He's obviously a mad man who must be stopped!

I'll stop him!

I'll stop him allright - right after I place my online order for some of his yummy steaks at RanchFoodsDirect shipping anywhere you have a hankerin' for farm-fresh meats! -- Yumm-O!

All this typing and 'research' is making me a little bit hungry for quality Callicrate Red Meat Products!  

I'd like to thank the EPA for providing me with the new Purveyor of Quality Meats for the household.  

I knew the EPA was good for something... 

I just didn't know what, until now.

Carpe Steak-Yum!

I'm not sure if Karl / Kris of the EPA will respond to this post, but if they do, I'm wondering if they have any recommendations on where I can stock up on 'Chickens'? 

I love me some Chicken BBQ, yes, I do...
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