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News Releases from Region 03

EPA Releases Report on West Virginia Agriculture Programs


(PHILADELPHIA - August 31, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed an evaluation of West Virginia's animal agriculture regulations and programs. The assessment, which is one of six that the agency is conducting of state animal agriculture programs in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, found that West Virginia is relying heavily on programs with voluntary participation to increase the implementation of conservation practices to meet water quality goals.

EPA conducts periodic reviews of state programs as part of its oversight responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. This assessment looked at West Virginia's implementation of federal and state regulatory programs, as well as voluntary incentive-based programs to meet the nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution reduction commitments in its Watershed Implementation Plan under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL.

EPA will use the assessment along with its ongoing Chesapeake Bay TMDL evaluations to help ensure that West Virginia has the programs, policies, and resources necessary to succeed with its plan to meet Bay restoration goals.

The assessment found that West Virginia's Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) program has only issued CAFO permits to two farms out of more than 2,600 West Virginia animal feeding operations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. EPA will continue to work with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to ensure compliance at animal feeding operations in West Virginia.

The assessment also found that though West Virginia has a nutrient management program, most nutrient management plans are voluntary under the program and are not assessed for compliance. West Virginia reports that approximately 375 farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have active Nutrient Management Plans and estimates that 95 percent of these are animal agriculture operations.

In addition, the assessment found that West Virginia is relying heavily on voluntary agricultural cost-share programs to encourage farmers to voluntarily implement conservation practices.

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

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