Beef Buzz News
Cattle Producers Battle EPA Over Florida Water Quality Rules
Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:21:26 CDT
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association continues to battle within the legal system against the EPA over the standards they are trying to force on the state of Florida. Tamara Thies is a legal counsel with the NCBA who specialty is environmental issues- and she is concerned that the heavy handed approach of the EPA in trying to impose burdensome water quality standards will be used as a template that could be duplicated in other parts of the country- including in the massive Mississippi River water basin.
Ron hays Beef Buzzes with Tamara Thies of the NCBA.
According to a background paper on the NCBA website- there are multiple problems that could damage agriculture. Those problems include:
"The impacts of this rule on the cattle industry are far reaching and costly. First, to reach these numeric criteria, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a statutory duty to adopt by rule Best Management Practices that ensure that agricultural impacts on impaired waters meet the requirements of the TMDLs that are adopted by the state and approved by EPA. The TMDLs must allow the impaired water to meet these new numeric nutrient criteria. The new mandatory BMPs’ implementation costs to Florida cattle producers will be substantial. Producers will be required to implement on-farm storm water treatment and retention practices, along with other BMPs.
"The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the University of Florida (FDACS/UF) estimated a cost of between $855 million and $3 billion initially for Florida agriculture to implement the best management practices needed to meet EPA’s criteria. Annually, FDACS/UF estimated costs to agriculture will be between $271 million and $974 million. Additionally, it is estimated that over 7,000 agriculture related jobs will be lost. The EPA estimated the cost to agriculture to be less than FDACS/UF’s estimate, between $19.9-23.0 million per year.
"Second, this rule is considered to be a blueprint for similar efforts across the US, including in the Mississippi River Basin. The process used to develop the Florida NNC sets bad precedent for the rest of the country where environmentalists’ lawsuits and petitions are currently pending in many states. It is evident that EPA intends to move quickly to the Gulf of Mexico/Mississippi River watershed. EPA has awarded a $7.1 million contract to Tetra Tech, an environmental engineering firm, from October 2010 to November 2012 to, among other tasks, develop nutrient criteria for states, develop a model of the Mississippi River by November 2011, and develop a Gulf of Mexico model by December 2012. It is important that the EPA be held accountable in Florida to prevent them from using the same rushed and flawed process in other parts of the country."
We talked with Tamara Thies of the NCBA about this issue on today's Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the listen bar below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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