Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit in which several environmental advocacy groups seek “unnecessary and unreasonable federal regulation” of nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River basin and the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Arkansas should be allowed to intervene in the suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because of the significant and costly implications an EPA loss or settlement would have on the state and its agricultural industry, McDaniel said.
He joined attorneys general from nine other states in a court filing Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
“Arkansas is abiding by federal clean-water regulations already in its management of pollution within the Mississippi River watershed,” said McDaniel. “We are protecting our waters. We do not need more burdensome and costly federal regulation that will threaten important agricultural jobs in the Delta, result in higher sewer bills and negative
ly impact our overall economy.”
The environmental advocacy groups have asked the court to force the EPA to institute specific, numeric criteria for total nitrogen and total phosphorus discharges in Arkansas and the entire Mississippi River watershed. The groups also want the EPA to impose total maximum daily load (TMDL) requirements for nitrogen and phosphorus within the watershed.
The EPA maintains that it has worked with states to address nutrient pollution issues and that states should develop and adopt their own standards for nutrient runoff, consistent with the Clean Water Act.
The case mirrors a recent lawsuit filed in Florida in which the EPA agreed to settle with environmental groups and establish numeric criteria for that state’s waters. Those criteria have been estimated to have a price tag of between $298 million and $4.7 billion to implement.
McDaniel's office warned that the EPA requirements could cost thousands of agricultural jobs and cause sewer rates to rise for consumers.
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