The voices calling for the EPA to pull its 2012 Yakima Valley Nitrate study and conduct a peer review continues to grow. Joining producers, farmers and lawmakers is Eastern Washington Family Farmers.
EWFF Executive Director Gerald Baron says the study, which was launched in response to a local newspaper article, aimed at proving dairies in the Yakima Valley were responsible for elevated nitrate levels in wells across the region. However, Baron said, that study did not prove any such hypothesis. He added that’s not just his opinion, but a large number of top agriculture scientists say the EPA study is not accurate.
“We know that the conclusions that they had [that] the current dairy farms are responsible for the nitrate contamination, are simply not supported by the facts. And they did not complete the peer review that they were required to by federal policy.”
That Nitrate study eventually led to several Yakima dairy farms shutting down operations, and Baron points out more could still close. He added the deception in the 2012 report was so evident, EWFF has asked that criminal charges be brought up against member of the Region 10 EPA staff.
“They were making outright false statements about the peer review process, about what they did. It is against the law. Title 18 Section 1001, I believe. It says if you are a federal official you can’t lie, you can’t change documents, you can’t change public records, you can’t misrepresent the facts, in the conduct of your business. And we have absolutely overwhelming evidence that that is exactly what they have done.”
He says they have written a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, but have yet to hear back. Baron says now the American Dairy Coalition is getting involved, calling on the EPA to review its flawed report.
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