October 22, 2010

Washington, D.C. – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently joined nineteen agricultural and forestry organizations in seeking the withdrawal of water quality regulations for the Chesapeake Bay being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On October 15, the groups sent a letter to EPA outlining the agricultural community’s concerns with the Agency’s proposed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for the Bay and requested either withdrawal of the regulations to allow more time for EPA to gather data and correct TMDL modeling deficiencies or to release the models for public review and provide 120 days for public comment.

“The agricultural community is deeply committed to protecting and improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and is demonstrating that fact by actively pursuing voluntary best management practices and efforts aimed at minimizing agriculture’s impact on the Bay watershed.” said TFI Vice President of Scientific Programs Bill Herz. “However, we simply cannot support water quality standards, such as EPA’s proposed TMDL, which has been developed on the basis of flawed information that has not gone through the standard public review process.”

To that point, if EPA is unwilling to recall the proposed TMDL, which is on track to be finalized in December, the agricultural groups have asked at a minimum that the Agency make the models that it used to develop the TMDL available for public review.

“EPA’s failure to make available adequate information about the model that serves as the basis for the proposed TMDL is a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act which requires the Agency to keep the public informed of its rules and activities and to provide an opportunity for the public to participate in the rulemaking process by providing comments and recommendations,” stated Herz.

In addition to the agricultural community, many others within the Chesapeake Bay watershed are raising concerns regarding the potential impacts of EPA’s proposed TMDL and the timeline for implementing the regulations. Most recently, the National Association of Home Builders released a statement calling for an additional 180 days to examine and comment on EPA’s proposal due to its technical complexity and the extremely high costs associated with compliance.

“Agriculture is not alone in facing concerns over cost and compliance associated with the proposed TMDL,” said Herz. “It is our hope that EPA will respond to the requests that it has received from a wide range of Chesapeake Bay stakeholders by granting an extension of the comment period or withdrawing the proposal all together.”

About the Fertilizer Institute

The Fertilizer Institute represents the nation’s fertilizer industry. Producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms which comprise its membership are served by a full time Washington, D.C., staff in various legislative, educational and technical areas as well as with information and public relations programs.