The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) supports efforts by U.S. Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing its Total Maximum Daily Load rule for the Chesapeake Bay and its numeric nutrient criteria rule for the State of Florida, respectively.
Representatives Goodlatte and Rooney offered amendments to block funding to implement these two regulations during debate of legislation to fund the federal government through the end of this fiscal year.
“These two regulations will have very costly effects on cattle producers and are expected to be used as templates for watersheds in other parts of the country, including in the Mississippi River Basin,” NCBA Chief Environmental Counsel Tamara Thies said. “The Chesapeake Bay TMDL is based on data that the EPA has admitted is flawed, and the Florida numeric nutrient rule appears to be based more on litigation strategies than sound science. We are pleased Representatives Goodlatte and Rooney have stood up for cattle produces and are working to stop these unscientific and unjustified regulations.”
NCBA, as part of the Agriculture Nutrient Policy Council, commissioned a study regarding the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL. The study found EPA’s input assumptions regarding agriculture were vastly different from the more factually- and scientifically-based determinations made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS found that agriculture contributed much less pollution to the Bay than EPA’s TMDL model claims. In addition, the NRCS discovered that the EPA’s model did not give producers credit for conservation practices they implemented voluntarily.
With regard to the Florida rule, Thies said NCBA is greatly concerned EPA will use this legally and scientifically indefensible rule as a template for the rest of the country. She said it will cost cattle producers in the state of Florida millions of dollars in compliance costs and thousands of jobs will be lost. Additionally, she said it could take 10 percent of agricultural land out of production.
“The EPA should not be allowed to disregard science to implement regulations that will have far-reaching, long-term effects on production agriculture throughout the country,” Thies said. “It is encouraging that Representative’s Goodlatte and Rooney have taken action to stop EPA, and we urge all members of the House of Representatives to support these amendments.”