The Latest

Events

  1. Oklahoma: Canola Schools – August 2 and 4

    July 20 @ 5:00 am - August 5 @ 1:00 am
  2. InfoAg Conference, St. Louis, Aug. 2-4

    August 2 @ 8:00 am - August 4 @ 5:00 pm
  3. Tennessee: Mid-South Ag Finance Conference, Martin, Aug. 3

    August 3 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  4. Arkansas: RiceTec Field Day, Harrisburg, Aug. 3

    August 3 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  5. New Mexico: Ag Science Center Field Day, Clovis, Aug. 3

    August 3 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  6. Texas: Cotton Fiber Quality Conference, Lubbock, Aug. 4

    August 4 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  7. Arkansas Rice Expo, Stuttgart, Aug. 10

    August 10 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  8. North Mississippi Row Crops Field Day, Verona, Aug. 11

    August 11 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  9. Texas: Small Grain Workshop, Brownwood, Aug. 11

    August 11 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  10. Texas: Pre-Plant Wheat Meeting, Amarillo, Aug. 12

    August 12 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  11. Kansas: Farm Succession Planning Seminar, Jewell, Aug. 16

    August 16 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  12. Illinois: Agronomy Day, Savoy, August 18

    August 18 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  13. Kansas: Farm Risk and Profit Conference, Manhattan, Aug. 18-19

    August 18 @ 8:00 am - August 19 @ 5:00 pm
  14. Kansas: Water Management Field Day, Colby, Aug. 23

    August 23 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  15. Georgia: Pest Manager Training Workshop, Savannah, Aug. 26

    August 26 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  16. Louisiana: Sweet Potato Field Day, Chase, Aug. 31

    August 31 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  17. Georgia Peanut Tour, Tifton, Sept. 13-15

    September 13 @ 8:00 am - September 15 @ 5:00 pm
  18. California Almond Conference, Sacramento, Dec. 6-8

    December 6 @ 8:00 am - December 8 @ 5:00 pm

Key Court Decisions Could Impact Water Regulations in Mississippi River Basin

Ernst Undesser
By Steve Hensley, USA Rice Federation September 26, 2013

Key Court Decisions Could Impact Water Regulations in Mississippi River Basin

This week in the lawsuit American Farm Bureau Federation, et al., v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, rejecting agriculture’s concerns over errors in the modeling and EPA overstepping the boundaries of the Clean Water Act (CWA).  Judge Rambo called EPA’s actions “cooperative federalism” and said it was envisioned by “an all-encompassing” and “comprehensive” CWA.

 

Historically, setting Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) has been the province of the states.  EPA has limited authority to establish TMDLs in a state; however, no court has ever held that EPA has the authority to also allocate the total load to sources throughout an entire watershed.

Now the court has stated that for water bodies that overlap state boundaries, there is nothing in the CWA that prohibits EPA from setting the total and issuing pollutant allocations not only to the tidal states but to all upstream states as well.  Judge Rambo found that EPA has the authority to do so since, among other things, the CWA does not expressly forbid it from doing so.  Judge Rambo also found precedent in a water permitting case between Arkansas and Oklahoma and stated that it supported “the proposition that EPA has authority to regulate upstream pollution sources in order to achieve downstream water quality standards.”

She also opened the door for allowing EPA, or even a state such as Louisiana, to establish a TMDL and assign allocations to sources of pollution for the 31 upstream states in the Mississippi River Basin.  This case is likely to be appealed.

In a separate ruling last week, U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey in New Orleans gave the EPA six months to decide whether to set CWA standards for nitrogen and phosphorous in all U.S. waterways or explain why they are not needed.  This ruling could move environmental groups closer to their goal of creating federal standards to regulate farmland runoff.

Ernst Undesser
By Steve Hensley, USA Rice Federation September 26, 2013