A group of agricultural organizations filed joint comments on March 11 praising the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) work on the issue of nutrient loss in agriculture.

Specifically, the groups, which include the National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, lauded EPA in returning the agricultural enforcement initiative to return to the standard compliance initiative “core” program.

In February 2018, the EPA Office of Water revised a 2003 EPA policy on water quality trading programs, which clarified the agency’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to help states use market and incentive-based programs for achieving compliance with the CWA.

“An important part of improving our nation’s water quality is leveraging the collective resources of the federal family and improving relationships with our partners on the ground,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross of the policy update. “Building on efforts already underway at the state, local and tribal level, EPA is taking a number of steps to help facilitate the use of a broad range of tools and technologies that will deliver critical water quality improvements at a lower cost.”

The comments also praised the EPA for its commitment to partner with states to implement state nutrient reduction strategies and for the agency’s emphasis on achieving both environmental and economic goals in its regulatory programs, specifically the Nutrient Recycling Challenge.

Finally, the organizations commended the EPA for its assessment that court rulings have limited the scope of the agency’s enforcement capabilities with regard to the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Rule.

“Courts have reduced the number of operations that fall under the purview of the federal CAFO Rule, enabling EPA to properly enforce the CAFO Rule with the resources available in the core program,” the comments said.