The National Milk Producers Federation today praised the Environmental Protection Agency for agreeing to allow more time to examine a controversial draft regulation expanding the waterways subject to pollution controls under the federal Clean Water Act.
EPA extended the comment period on the regulation 90 days, until October 20.
"Dairy farmers are committed to protecting U.S. waters both voluntarily and under the Clean Water Act," said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, "but the EPA needs to go about this effort in the right way. Allowing more time to consider EPA’s draft will give everyone the chance to adequately consider the issues raised in the draft and make it less likely the final regulation will be harmful to dairy farmers."
NMPF cited two reasons for requesting more time to consider the regulation: First, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have not completed the report providing the scientific underpinning for the regulation; and second, many of the key concepts discussed in the draft are unclear or subject to interpretation by government regulators.
"For dairy farmers to understand and assess the proposed changes, the science behind them must be clear and conclusive," Mulhern said. "And yet, the draft relies on the scientific conclusions of an EPA report still under review by the agency’s Science Advisory Board." Likewise, Mulhern said, many of the terms used in the draft, including terms like ‘‘floodplain’’ and ‘‘tributary,’’ and not well defined. "These terms are as murky at best, and, therefore, will create confusion for dairy producers.
"Given the scope and complexities of the proposed rule and its supporting documents, it was essential that EPA allow more time to consider the issues it raises," Mulhern said. "NMPF appreciates that the agency has allowed the time needed to clarify these issues."
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF’s activities, visit our website at www.nmpf.org.