The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing to push the “Waters of the US” rules for the country.  The American Farm Bureau has been working hard to convince Congress that EPA has overstepped their legal bounds and many in Congress have heard.  Last fall thousands of county Farm Bureau members sent in comment cards opposing EPA's rule, but apparently the agency still continues to go forward with this ill-conceived rule.

Sometimes we wonder why the public tolerates agencies who overstep their authority and we also wonder why more people don't get alarmed at the overreach of federal agencies.  .  It seems like many times agencies propose rules that will affect a small part of the population knowing full well that this segment will protest loudly, but because most folks aren't directly affected they won't say anything and then the agency can just sit back and wait until the clamor dies down, go ahead with their rules and then wait for another chance to do it again.

As time goes by, people soon accept that regulating everything is the right thing to do.  Sometimes however, there gets to be a push back.  In a society where everything that might be dangerous needs to be regulated, we learn about some folks in Maryland who are adherents to the “free-range kids” philosophy.  In an article in the Washington Post a ten-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister were coming home from playing in a park when they were picked up by the Montgomery County police for walking home without their parents.  At the time they were picked up they were 2 ½ blocks from their home.  However,  after the police took them into custody it took them three hours to call their parents and then another 2 ½ hours later they were released back to their parents.

Apparently this isn't the first time this has happened to these parents.  The Post columnist makes the statement that, “This is getting pretty ridiculous.  Somehow we've morphed from being a village that helps raise children to a parenting police state.”

An interesting observation from a columnist for a paper not ever accused of being a right winged publication.  Perhaps some people will be able to connect the dots between what has happened in Silver Springs, Maryland and what is being attempted by the EPA.

On another note, many of us in the agriculture community were aware of the passing of Frank Philp in March.  Frank was from a ranching family in Fremont County and like many folks in agriculture, he believed in giving back to his community. 

In Frank's case when he ran for the House it was the State of Wyoming.   Frank took the job of legislating seriously and his intelligence and calm demeanor helped him rise in the leadership ranks of the House of Representatives.  Perhaps the busiest committee in that body is the Appropriations Committee and when Frank became chair he probably lost more sleep than he ever did on the ranch.  He worked hard on that committee and helped a lot of tax payers out by keeping a close eye on the budget. 

As a society made up of immigrants from all over the world we often have stereotypes of different nationalities.  I don't know if Frank's Scottish heritage contributed to his close reign on the budget or if it was his background as a rancher.  Whatever it was, Frank saved taxpayers a lot of money and made our state government more efficient.  There are probably several agency heads that don't share my admiration for Frank, but in my experience he was always fair.

People who knew him understood that he embodied the idea of “talk less, do more” before it was a book.  Even when he was having health problems he was quietly doing his job.  Our condolences go out to his family.  I hope they know we realize just what a quiet contribution he made to the state.  Agriculture was lucky to have a leader like Frank.  Wyoming was too.

By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President