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July 07, 2000   Email to Friend 

July 07, 2000

Congress has passed legislation that prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from using its funds to implement news rules requiring Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for non-point source pollutants. The provision was included in a military construction appropriations bill recently passed by the U.S. House and Senate shortly before the summer recess.

The Alabama Farmers Federation was opposed to EPA's proposal to revise the regulations implementing the TMDL program," said Steve Guy, the Federation's environmental spokesman. "EPA's proposed regulations were unlawful because they went well beyond the authority of the Clean Water Act. The proposed regulations would have empowered EPA to regulate non-point sources of pollution through the TMDL program. Congress did not intend for EPA to possess such power."

There was bipartisan support in Congress to restrict funding to EPA in order to prohibit enforcement of TMDL.

"There is overwhelming opposition across the country to the EPA's proposals.The sheer fact that independent scientists, farmers, foresters,and environmentalists have all urged withdrawal of these rules should give the EPA pause," said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest(R-Texas). "Instead, the agency continued its efforts to force these rules on local communities and it has given us no choice but to resolve this issue through legislation."

Over the last several months, the House and Senate held a dozen hearings on the TMDL rules, including a meeting in Montgomery on June 26 with Alabama Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby. The TMDL rules would have allowed EPA to regulate nonpoint sources of pollution such as runoff from agricultural fields and forestry operations.

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