It turns out there can be bipartisanship in Congress – just call a House Agriculture Committee hearing, put the EPA on a pedestal and hand out tomatoes.

At the start of Thursday’s hearing, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson tried to parry myths about agency actions. Her underlying point – that rumors rampant in farm country are unfairly tarring the EPA – didn’t soften the subsequent questions and comments she faced.  

For more, see 5 myths dogging EPA – Jackson. 

A sampling:

  • Illinois Rep. Tim Johnson: The EPA “has absolutely been the poster-child for usurpation of legislative authority.”
  • California Rep. Jim Costa: The EPA “is the most unpopular agency in farm country from sea to shining sea, bar none. Have you heard of judicial activism? I submit that your agency often pursues a course of ‘agency activism.’ You want to have jurisdiction over an issue but the law may not quite say so. … So, you settle suits that allow you to then go pursue a course of action that you may not have within the law.”
  • North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell: “Perception is reality. And today you’ve heard the strong perception that the EPA doesn’t fully understand, or perhaps isn’t ready, to work with the ag community in a lot of ways. You had examples of five myths early (in your testimony). I’m sure after debunking those myths we could fill the ledger back up with many, many more. That’s part of the problem: there’s so much uncertainty involved.”
  • Wisconsin Rep. Reid Ribble: “I’ve never been in a committee hearing quite like this where everyone agrees you’ve got problems. … The American people don’t trust you. You need to hear that and take it back.”