EPA's milking its regulation powers

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Just when you thought the government would not be able to come up with anything new to intrude upon, I now read that the EPA has labeled milk as "an environmental hazard." They made this decision because milk contains animal fat, fat contains oil, petroleum oil is considered a hazardous substance, therefore animal fat from milk must be hazardous as well.


No, I didn't think you would.

Well, as we all know, the EPA doesn't have enough to do. It isn't like they have to worry about large amounts of oil spilled in the Gulf or where to store all the uranium once it's used in a nuclear plant. The EPA says that their decision to declare milk as a hazardous substance is tied to the Clean Water Act.

And in the Clean Water Act, there is a separate program called the Oil Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Program. I think this is the program that was so successful in stopping the Gulf oil spill. Its goal, according to EPA, is to "prevent oil spills into waters of the United States and adjoining shorelines, and a key element of this program calls for farmers to have an oil spill prevention plan for large fuel capacity tanks." Well, now they have decided that any dairy farmer who has large vats of milk also must put in place a milk spill prevention plan.

Now I am sure you all remember the terrible disaster in the 1970s when large vats of milk exploded and parts of Iowa were turned into blocks of cheese for several weeks. A lucky few escaped to Wisconsin, creating the cheeseheads you sometimes see at Green Bay Packers games. OK, maybe you never heard about this disaster. I'm sure there must have been some disaster, somewhere, attributable to a large milk spill.

My God, I lived only a few miles from Brown's Dairy growing up. I never realized the extreme risk. Imagine if one of those milk trucks had sprung a leak. I might still be buttered up from head to toe. For that matter, what if someone had shot one of the cows in its udder? It might have spewed this hazardous substance all over the place.

Well, if the EPA insists on regulating milk, I guess it is a good thing that Dolly Parton never decided to have children. Imaging breast-feeding Dolly. I suppose the EPA would have to surround lactating Dolly with the National Guard -- and a super tanker in case she burst.

I won't even begin to entertain the steps necessary for Morgana, the famous 54-EEE stripper who use to storm the baseball field at the Braves game. Back then, you sure as heck didn't want to watch the game, so Morgana storming the field was at least a reason to stay until the 7th inning.

And, what in the heck am I to tell my kids now? I always say drink your milk, not a Coke. As far as I know, Coke is not on the spill prevention plan and has not been labeled as a hazardous substance. For that matter, neither has beer. I guess I'll be telling the little boy to be sure and drink all his beer, but watch out for the milk.

What about the grocery store? How can I negotiate the frozen food aisle knowing that gallons of environmentally hazardous milk loom only a few feet away? I guess I'll have to start shopping at the grocery store wearing a respirator and rubber boots. I don't guess I even need to mention the Dairy Queen. We may as well rope them off with yellow crime scene tape and bring in the Haz Mat crew.

But whatever you do, please don't jump to the conclusion that the government has gotten too large. I, for one, will sleep well tonight knowing the EPA will protect me from the hazards of milk. Well, I'll sleep well knowing this, and thinking about Dolly Parton.

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.