The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced yesterday their intent to work with state, tribal, and local agencies to reduce the flow of nutrients into navigable waters from non-point sources, such as agricultural land, particularly in the Mississippi River Basin.
While EPA and USDA have been meeting informally with states and stakeholders the last six months, the press release announces a program to meet one-on-one with interested states regarding the opportunities and challenges presented by reducing excess nutrients in watersheds, and to facilitate regional meetings between states and stakeholders. These meetings present an opportunity for stakeholders to provide meaningful input to the federal and state policy making process.
Through a letter sent to the heads of state agencies, EPA and USDA made clear that the federal agencies will be looking to their state environmental and agricultural counterparts to meet the challenge presented by nutrient runoff. The federal agencies will provide assistance through research funding, clearing regulatory hurdles, and encouraging market-based programs, but solutions and nutrient reduction programs are likely to be generated on a local and state level.
Michael Best attorneys maintain close connections to both state and federal environmental and agricultural agencies. As the federal and state nutrient reduction conversation progresses, Michael Best can help convey stakeholder opinions to help create reasonable and effective nutrient reduction policy.