Oberstar blasts EPA blog post that encourages ‘living without meat’

WASHINGTON — An Environmental Protection Agency blog on the benefits of “living without meat” drew a sharp rebuke from Rep. Jim Oberstar today.

The EPA Greenversations blog piece, penned by a summer intern from Indiana University, states that runoff from livestock is polluting land and waterways, adding that “regulations can be made to help prevent the effects of meat production.” The piece also contends that the best way to combat those effects is to “become a vegetarian or vegan.”

Not surprisingly, it has sparked a spirited discussion online, with nearly 300 comments so far. Agricultural heavyweights are taking the piece seriously — American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said it shows a “terrible disregard” for livestock producers.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Oberstar called the post “disappointing.” Oberstar, a northeast Minnesota Democrat whose largely rural district has a large number of livestock producers, said the blog post “highlights the negative and portrays all farmers and livestock producers in a bad light.”

An editor’s note appended to the piece says that “the opinions and comments expressed in Greenversations are those of the authors alone and do not reflect an Agency policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy of the contents of the blog.” Oberstar dismissed that disclaimer, noting the blog is listed as the “official blog of the EPA” and as such it’s “hard to distance the views on Greenversations from official EPA policy.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Carol Logie on 04/26/2010 - 09:33 pm.

    Sure, nothing needs to change. We’ll just keep eating our e-coli contaminated meat and hope for the best. Because the only “terrible disregard” going on is perpetrated by summer interns sticking it to factory farmers by daring to suggest that maybe we can’t poop where we eat any more. It certainly wouldn’t be that abandoned lake of pig excrement upstate.

  2. Submitted by Bruce Hope on 04/27/2010 - 03:12 pm.

    Here is yet another chance for Rep. Oberstar to give a meaningful response. We he represents a large agricultural base, but we also need a conversation from our leadership about these issues. The EPA intern followed the facts and I applaud her for it.

  3. Submitted by Joe Musich on 04/27/2010 - 10:09 pm.

    Looks like the intern had a better graps of the complete picture then obie wan. And the intern only spoke to a small portion no pun intened of the issues connected with animal diets including the use of land relative to productivity in food production as well as the pollution connected with massive industrial meat production not just the the animals waste but the energy use.

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