Ohio’s corn, soybean and wheat farmers applaud the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for new rules that will improve the procedure for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation plans. In December, Ohio EPA established additional steps to involve interested and affected parties, including farmers, in the TMDL process.
“The continuous improvement of water quality is a priority of our farmers, and it is essential for them to be part of all decisions that impact both water quality and their businesses,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “We thank Ohio EPA for recognizing the importance of our participation, and we further encourage all state agencies to include us in all aspects of water quality policy.”
Under its new TMDL procedure, Ohio EPA will:
- Notify interested and affected stakeholders and offer at least 30 days of input for TMDL development during the project assessment study plan, the biological and water quality study report and the loading analysis plan.
- Provide at least two opportunities for stakeholder input prior to submission to the U.S. EPA of TMDLs in development prior to Sept. 29, 2017.
- Provide public notice of an official draft TMDL to all interested or affected stakeholders and allow no less than 60 days of public comment.
- Allow interested parties to request a public hearing on an official draft TMDL within 30 days after the public notice.
Broad inclusion of input makes for better, more effective rules.
“A TMDL calculated without the input of all stakeholders is likely to be based upon poor or incomplete assumptions,” said Kirk Merritt, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Association. “I commend Ohio EPA for opening and broadening its process so that all voices are heard and all necessary expertise is considered.”
For more about Ohio farmers’ support for water quality, please visit formyfarm.com.