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Report confirms flaws in Chesapeake Bay analysis


August 3, 2011
By American Farm Bureau

July 29, 2011 – An updated
report on the science surrounding Chesapeake Bay water quality confirms that
serious and significant differences exist between the Environmental Protection
Agency’s “Bay Model” and the model authored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

July 29, 2011 – An updated
report
on the science surrounding Chesapeake Bay water quality confirms that
serious and significant differences exist between the Environmental Protection
Agency’s
“Bay Model” and the model authored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Left unchanged these
differences could lead to farmers in the watershed paying a steep price for
nutrients and sediments that have been mistakenly attributed to them, according
to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The analysis, conducted by
LimnoTech and commissioned by the Agricultural Nutrient Policy Council, shows
there are vast differences between the EPA and USDA Chesapeake Bay models in
the areas of land use, total acreage of the Bay watershed and data and
assumptions about farmer adoption of conservation and farming practices.

“It is clear to us that
the EPA’s TMDL water regulations are based on flawed information,” said AFBF
president Bob Stallman. “Due to the fact that farmers and others in the
Chesapeake Bay Watershed are being directed to incur extreme costs and even
take land out of production to comply with EPA’s harsh new regulations, those
regulations must be based on reliable information. Currently that is not the case.”

As a result of the federal
agencies’ disagreement in key areas such as conservation and farming practices
used by farmers in the watershed, and the number of acres that fall within
watershed borders, there is a wide discrepancy in the nutrients and sediments
being attributed to agriculture. Given USDA’s superior knowledge of agriculture
and farming practices, Stallman said EPA’s disregard for USDA information is
not acceptable.

“We all want a clean
Chesapeake Bay,” Stallman said. “Farmers in the watershed have made tremendous
investment to put conservation practices in place to protect the bay, and they
are doing more every day.

“While we need EPA and
USDA to work together to resolve these key differences, ultimately we believe
that the types of regulations put in place for the bay by EPA are unlawful.
This is a job for our state governments, not the federal government. But, since
federal regulators are pursuing restrictive regulations on our farms, they
should at least base their actions on credible facts.”

A copy of the LimnoTech
report is available at http://nutrientpolicy.org/ANPC_News.html.


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