(December 23, 2013 – Salem, OR) The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) disagrees with the current findings of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in “the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Intent To Find That Oregon Has Failed To Submit an Approvable Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program.”
In response to the December 20, 2013, notice by the NOAA and EPA; Bill Moore, Water Resources Chairman for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association stated, “Our region’s strong land use and environmental laws adequately regulate nonpoint source activities to effectively protect the environment, and relevant monitoring indicates those laws are working. Unfortunately, the federal Agencies, and EPA in particular, are demanding more without a sound, current scientific basis for doing so. The shame in all of this is they are threatening to withhold grant funds used for important projects across the State designed to curb nonpoint source contributions.”
Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) also concluded that Oregon’s plan “meets the intent of the three Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) management measures in a manner that is appropriately customized to Oregon’s unique circumstances.”
In 1990, Congress established the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program (CNPCP) under Section 6217 of the CZARA to encourage better coordination between state coastal zone managers and water quality experts to reduce polluted runoff in the coastal zone. Despite Oregon’s strong environmental laws, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and EPA have announced they intend to disapprove Oregon’s CNPCP and to withhold important federal grant funding.
The disapproval is being driven by a 2012 settlement agreement made without agriculture or other natural resource partners at the table. Oregon is now being expected to comply with litigation from this settlement agreement rather than basing important management decisions on sound science and what is in the best interests of Oregonians.
OCA promotes industry and environmental practices that are grounded in research, data and evidenced-based findings. OCA will be submitting comments in response to the concerns that federal Agencies have raised about nonpoint source impacts from agricultural activities and the state’s agricultural water quality program. OCA will continue to work to strengthen environmentally and socially sound industry practices that provide a positive economic impact to Oregon and local communities.