Corn Growers Association applauds decision to allow states to address pollution before EPA steps in

Brent Hostetler, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association's Stewardship Action Team, applauded a recent federal court ruling in Louisiana that said states in the the Mississippi River Basin should have the opportunity to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the 1.1 million square mile basin before the EPA is called in.

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey held that the Clean Water Act enacted by Congress takes a state-driven approach to water pollution and that states should be given a chance to work without the use of federal regulation.

Hostetler called the decision a "clear victory for agriculture and farmers specifically." However, he added, "Our work is far from over ... the ball is back in our court and we must continue to pursue productivity while ramping up resource conservation."

Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), the chief plaintiff in the lawsuit, and other groups released a report last month faulting the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the basin.

GRN wanted EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to force states to adopt numeric water quality criteria for rivers, streams and lakes.

The Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Fertilizer Institute, Agricultural Retailers Association and livestock organizations intervened in the case and have worked cooperatively on the nutrient issue to assure that the state-led leadership role of the Clean Water Act remains intact.

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