AGRIBUSINESS: Clean Water Act Standards Deadline Looms

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According to the Washington Post - a U.S. District Court Judge has given the Environmental Protection Agency six-months to determine whether it will set Clean Water Act standards for nitrogen and phosphorous in all U.S. waterways - or explain why they are not needed. The EPA says more than 100-thousand miles of rivers and streams, nearly 2.5-million acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds and more than 800-square miles of bays and estuaries in the U.S. have poor water quality due to nitrogen and phosphorous pollution.

Natural Resources Defense Council Attorney Ann Alexander says if EPA does set standards to regulate farmland runoff - among other things - it will be a positive change for waters throughout the nation. Alexander says one of the first areas to look at - if standards are set - could be the 31 states in the Mississippi River Basin. The U.S. Department of Justice says setting such rules would be unnecessarily complex - and EPA would more effectively fight water pollution if it worked with states to reduce such pollution.