This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Bob Goodlatte discusses the bill he recently introduced to continue improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay while also ensuring that farmers, states, and local economies are not saddled with overzealous regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). H.R. 4153, the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act mandates that economic and scientific assessments are considered for setting the milestones for achieving the Bay's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The TMDL is the limit on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment discharged in the Chesapeake Bay and each of its tributaries by different types of sources.
"Farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed know firsthand the impact and uncertainty of tightening regulations. Right now, they're concerned about new EPA regulations relating to the Total Maximum Daily Load, or what the agency calls a pollution diet for the Bay. The TMDL has a far-reaching impact on all of those who live, work, and farm in the watershed.
"Unquestionably the Bay is in need of our attention and I believe everyone has a role to play in restoring it, but the EPA is imposing regulations with a heavy hand. The agency is moving forward without considering the costs and benefits of its actions and without properly assessing nutrient reductions already made.
"EPA's strategy burdens our farmers and rural communities with costly regulations and disregards state plans already in effect for cleaning up the Bay.
"That's why I introduced the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act. It addresses water quality concerns and provides farmers with regulatory certainty while ensuring the strength and vitality of local economies. We can restore the Chesapeake Bay while also maintaining the economic livelihood of farmers and communities in the watershed."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.