Thursday, March 17, 2011

New EPA Framework on Working with States to Achieve Reductions in Phosphorus and Nitrogen Water Pollution

Yesterday, March 16, the EPA Office of Water released a memorandum sent to the Agency's ten Regional Administrators entitled, "Working in Partnership with States to Address Phosphorus and Nitrogen Pollution through Use of a Framework for State Nutrient Reductions."  According to the memo's lead paragraph, it (along with an accompanying "framework") is guidance designed to reaffirm "EPA's commitment to partnering with states and collaborating with stakeholders to make greater progress in accelerating the reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus loadings to our nation's waters. The memorandum synthesizes key principles that are guiding and that have guided Agency technical assistance and collaboration with states and urges the Regions to place new emphasis on working with states to achieve near-term reductions in nutrient loadings."

EPA says that it offers the framework "as a planning tool, intended to initiate conversation with states, tribes, other partners and stakeholders on how best to proceed to achieve near- and long-term reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in our nation's waters.  However, the memorandum goes on to state that, while EPA will support states that follow the framework, the Agency "retain(s) all its authorities under the Clean Water Act," implying that those authorities could be used in cases where adequate progress in nutrient reduction was not being achieved.

A copy of the EPA memorandum and framework can be viewed and downloaded here (pdf file).

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