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News Releases from Region 03

EPA Issues Report on Pennsylvania Animal Agriculture Programs

Contact Information: 
Terri White (white.terri-a@epa.gov)

(PHILADELPHIA - March 16, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed an evaluation of Pennsylvania's animal agriculture programs. The assessment is one of six that the agency is conducting of state animal agriculture programs within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. EPA conducts periodic reviews of state programs as part of its oversight responsibilities under the Clean Water Act.

EPA's assessment evaluated Pennsylvania's implementation of programs to reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution going to waterways within the Bay Watershed, as called for under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL. The assessment looked at the Commonwealth's implementation of federal and state regulatory programs, as well as voluntary incentive-based programs to meet the nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reduction commitments in its TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).

The assessment found that Pennsylvania has robust and well-implemented federal Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) and state Concentrated Animal Operation (CAO) programs. The CAO program includes additional operations that are not regulated under the federal CAFO program. These programs regulate approximately 10-20 percent of Pennsylvania's animal agriculture operations.

For the remaining 80-90 percent of Pennsylvania's animal agriculture operations, EPA's assessment found that the Commonwealth is lacking a strong compliance assurance program to achieve full compliance with its Manure Management Program and Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control Program that cover these operations.

In addition, the assessment found that beyond compliance with current regulations, additional state policies and programs are likely to be necessary for implementing agricultural conservation practices that reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution.

EPA will use this assessment along with other evaluations to assist Pennsylvania in developing the necessary programs, policies and resources to ensure the Commonwealth meets its commitments under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.

In addition to the Pennsylvania assessment, EPA also released its evaluations today of animal agriculture programs in New York and Virginia. The agency plans to issue similar reports on animal agriculture programs in Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia later this year.

The reports are available at: http://www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/tmdl/ChesapeakeBay/EnsuringResults.html (Click on the Agriculture tab)