California ag groups aim to stop new runoff rules
Unhappy with new agricultural runoff rules agreed to by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in California, a coalition of ag groups has filed petitions for the State Board to review and stay the new rules.
The groups, which include the state Farm Bureau, the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and other agribusinesses, argue that the new rules do not improve water quality as intended and could harm farmers and other ag businesses. They even go so far as to claim the new agricultural water regulations are based on violations of state environmental and water laws. The new rules aim to reduce groundwater and surface water pollution from nitrate fertilizers, pesticides and sediment from farm fields.
“The requirements are very time-consuming and, in a number of cases, very expensive,” Abby Taylor-Silva of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California told the Monterey County Herald.
In its petitions, the groups claim the regional board failed to adequately review and consider an alternative proposal from the agriculture industry.
The plan ultimately adopted by the board never underwent appropriate review of its impacts, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation petition.
“The petition says the new plan will lead to ‘dramatic and severe impacts on the agricultural industry, which will have a significant effect on the economic and social environment of the region.’ Those impacts include negative economic consequences, possible elimination of some crops produced in the area, loss of jobs, loss of food supply, loss of prime farmland, loss of wildlife habitat and other social and economic implications,” CFBF said in a statement.
In a separate petition, the coalition of agricultural groups asked the state water board to halt implementation of the new Central Coast program, according to the CFBF.