Fertilizer Group Opposes Senate's Chesapeake Restoration Bill

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) joined several other agricultural organizations in urging members of the U.S. Senate to oppose any efforts to attach the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816) to bills that might move through an upcoming “lame duck” session of Congress.

The bill would fundamentally change aspects of the Clean Water Act and set water policy precedents that will impact watersheds throughout the United States, according to a press release from the organization.

“S. 1816 does not authorize a program to improve water quality through collaboration, technical assistance, and funding,” said TFI President Ford B. West. “Instead, S. 1816 would set a major legislative precedent in federal environmental law, taking the authority and control granted to states and local governments under the Clean Water Act and turning it over to EPA – a step never before taken in the 38-year history of the law.”

A letter sent by TFI and other agriculture organizations to all members of the Senate, details the way in which S. 1816 would transition authority and control from states and local governments to the Environmental Protection Agency. Specifically, the letter calls attention to the fact that S. 1816 would grant EPA the authority to issue Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) without giving states the opportunity to act first.

“S. 1816 is a breathtaking expansion of federal regulatory control, and its passage by the Senate would set a major precedent for the application of this model to the entire country,” stated West. “The end result of this would, in effect, make EPA the pre-eminent land use authority in the nation.”

“Agriculture has the same commitment with respect to improving water quality across the country,” said West. “But we cannot support the precedent setting, fundamental altering of the Clean Water Act policy framework and we strongly urge members of the Senate to oppose this measure should it come up for consideration.”

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