Source: National Milk Producers Federation news release
The Agriculture Nutrient Policy Council (ANPC) released a new report today that raises significant questions regarding the accuracy of the data used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The ANPC, a coalition of agricultural groups including National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), commissioned the report to illustrate the contrasts between EPA’s estimate of the Bay’s "nutrient diet" – particularly phosphorus and nitrogen – with those of USDA. In the end, it was clear that the EPA needed to delay its implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program until the modeling is developed with sound science and factual data.
"The ANPC report provides a clear view of the major discrepancies between the EPA’s data and that of the NRCS," said David Hickey, NMPF's director of government gelations. "With the anticipated costs that will ultimately be levied on agriculture in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, it is critical the EPA takes another look at their data and modeling in their development of the TMDL."
The report was prepared by LimnoTech, a leading water sciences and environmental engineering consulting firm. It compared EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Loads with those in the draft USDA report Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region. Inconsistencies in data and modeling were found for:
· Land use and total acreage of the Chesapeake Bay watershed;
· Assumptions about conservation practices;
· Model frameworks; and
· Model results.
"The dairy industry in the Chesapeake Bay region, which consists of thousands of dairies of widely varying sizes, has made significant investments and changes in their production practices over the recent decades to ensure a clean and healthy environment," Hickey said. "We are fully supportive of new, increased efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay; however, it is vital to ensure the program is based on sound-science and factual data."