Government bloggers, beware: Jim Oberstar wants his news fair and balanced.

And today the chair of the House Transportation Committee made it known to the press that a certain intern at the Environmental Protection Agency needs to get her facts straight.

Indiana State University sophomore Nicole Reising, this news release is for you.

"Dear Lisa," Oberstar wrote to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, according to the statement from his office. "I am disappointed in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) publishing of a recent Greenversations blog post entitled 'Living without Meat.'"

That's referring to this post from Reising last Tuesday, which described the environmental effects of eating meat and advocated people become vegetarian. Growing crops is a cleaner and more efficient use of land and water than raising cattle, Reising argued.

She also reported that she stopped eating pork "only after a graphic showing of a pig slaughter I witnessed in elementary school."

What she neglected to mention, Oberstar said, were the positive changes farmers have made to reduce their environmental impact. Instead she "highlights the negative and portrays all farmers and livestock producers in a bad light."

And though the site notes that the views expressed on the blog are the author's alone, Oberstar said the layout makes it "hard for the EPA to distance the views posted on Greenversations from official EPA policy." (Setting aside the fact that policy directives would be coming from a blog called "Greenversations.")

"Given the current economic situation facing many farmers and livestock producers, one-sided blog posts, on the EPA's website, like 'Living without Meat,' are not helpful," Oberstar wrote.

All this comes on the heels of a similar Reising-related press release last week from the American Farm Bureau.

"Interns like all Americans are entitled to their own opinion on subjects being discussed in public forums," wrote Bob Stallman, president of the nation's most powerful farm lobby. "But they, like all government employees, should have an understanding that they are not just representing themselves, they are representing the particular government agency -- in this case the EPA."
 
Stallman added: “While this is a position taken by an intern of the agency, EPA should control its blog space."

 

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