EPA Regulations Killing Ruston Peach Orchards
Joe Mitcham says his peach orchard near Ruston is the largest in Louisiana. And having been established by his family in 1946, it’s certainly one of the oldest. But Mitcham says he’ll be lucky to stay open a few more years…all because of EPA regulations.
In 2005 the agency banned a chemical called methyl bromide, which Mitcham and virtually all peach growers use to treat diseased trees.The reason? The government says it damages the earth’s ozone layer. As a result, Mitcham, as well as peach producers across the South, are watching their orchards slowly die, tree by tree. Mitcham says at this rate he’ll be closed in just a few years.
Agriculture experts say the chemical ban is costing southern, peach producing states as much as $1.5 billion annually in lost revenue. And as for job losses? The EPA regulations have have forced Mitcham to fire 40 of his 60 employees.
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