UEP participates in Animal Agriculture Water Quality Subcommittee meeting

June 20, 2024

On November 16, 2023, EPA published a request for nominations to the Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee's (FRRCC) new Animal Agriculture and Water Quality (AAWQ) Subcommittee. The formation of this subcommittee is the result of EPA's denial of the environmental groups' petitions seeking additional regulation. The Subcommittee effort will run on a parallel path to updates to the related Effluent Limitation Guidelines.  On April 30, 2024, EPA announced the AAWQ Subcommittee appointees. The slate of participants included Rebecca Eifert Joniskan, who was chosen to represent UEP. Joniskan currently serves as President of the Indiana State Poultry Association.

EPA claims the goal of the subcommittee is to provide recommendations that will inform the agency's decisions regarding how to improve the implementation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), permitting program to more effectively reduce nutrients and other types of water pollutants from Animal Feeding Operations. This will include determining whether any revisions to the regulations are warranted, and whether EPA can otherwise support the efforts of AFO operators to protect water quality.

In May, EPA hosted the first in-person meeting of the subcommittee. The two-day meeting included the following:

  • An overview of CWA authorities and animal agriculture
  • USDA programs overview
  • Discussion of land application area issues
  • Discussion of production area issues
  • Discussion of effective management strategies

The subcommittee will break into work groups to discuss issues in more detail between full Subcommittee meetings, and it is likely that the work groups will circle around the final three categories of issues. It is also important to note that many of the environmental organizations involved in litigation at both the federal and state levels are also represented on this subcommittee.

The subcommittee expects to meet in person in Pennsylvania on the week of Aug. 5. UEP will continue to be heavily engaged to help keep members informed of the subcommittee’s work. For any additional questions on these issues, please contact Lauren Lurkins or Tom Hebert.