The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry is holding a public hearing Thursday to review the impacts and burdens of the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Total Maximum Daily Load for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Congressman Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., says there are concerns the model is flawed and is creating yet another regulatory burden on states and rural communities.
"The TMDL is what EPA calls a pollution diet, it's a firm limit on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that can be discharged into the bay," Thompson said. "Several of the six states in the watershed have raised issues with the cost and regulatory burden of this process. There are great concerns over the accuracy of the models EPA has used to come up with their estimates for reductions and there are concerns that the EPA may disregard the states' plan and impose costly additional limits."
Thompson notes more areas could one day be impacted as the model the EPA is applying to the Bay could ultimately be applied along the Mississippi and in the Great Lakes region. For that reason he says the Agriculture Committee is closely monitoring this process and its effect on states, rural communities and agricultural producers.
Thompson says agriculture is one of the top industries in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and so far has been disproportionately affected during the cleanup process. While he believes restoring and maintaining the health of the Bay is a worthwhile pursuit, Thompson says EPA must be fair and realistic with its process.