Administrator Wheeler Wraps Up Visit to Arkansas Meeting with Agriculture Partners
EPA announces $3.2 million to protect water quality
LITTLE ROCK (November 20, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrapped up his visit to Arkansas announcing more than $3 million to protect water quality, meeting with farmers, and touring a Grand Prairie Farming and Water Company, LLC pump project.
“Water quality is of the upmost importance to farmers, and so is regulatory consistency,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Trump Administration’s recent Navigable Waters Protection Rule has shown that EPA listened to farmers’ complaints about the unworkability of the previous rule, and this new water quality grant funding shows that the federal government is listening to farmers concerns about non-source pollution.”
“EPA grant funding is playing an integral role in improving our nation’s water quality,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “Our partnership with state environmental and agriculture departments is helping to ensure that we are addressing local water quality improvement priorities.”
“I was proud to welcome EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to the Natural State today and stand with him as he announced the crucial $3 million grant funding to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission to protect water quality statewide. Our Arkansas waters are a resource that is vital and must be protected for our farmers and ranchers in order to help keep our State’s economy thriving,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
“I’m the Ranking Member of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee here in Congress, and I know how essential water infrastructure is to rural communities. The EPA plays a huge role in protecting our water quality, which is why I’m so pleased that Administrator Wheeler traveled to Arkansas to hear directly from our local leaders,” said U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “I’m sorry I had to be in D.C. for legislative business, but hope he has an informative visit. My thanks to Administrator Wheeler for his leadership on this issue and for his award to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. This funding will be instrumental in improving our water infrastructure.”
“Today, I'm happy to join Arkansas agriculture leaders and Secretary Ward in showcasing the innovative and effective efforts in advancing energy and environmental outcomes,” said Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Becky W. Keogh.
“Arkansas is the Natural State, a title we carry with pride and honor,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Rich Hillman. “When a farmer is involved, that is good for the environment – our farmers are some the best conservationists. We were happy to have Administrator Wheeler in Arkansas to see first-hand the role agriculture plays in making Arkansas truly the Natural State.”
At L.T.D. Farms in Stuttgart, Ark., Administrator Wheeler and Regional Administrator McQueen participated in a roundtable with Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas Department of Energy & Environment Secretary Becky Keogh, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward, and Arkansas Farm Bureau President Rich Hillman. Arkansas Senate Public Health, Welfare, Arkansas House Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development Committee Chair Dan Douglas, and staff from Arkansas Senator John Boozman, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, and Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) were also in attendance. During the roundtable, they discussed issues of importance including the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which is providing regulatory certainty for farmers across the country, the recent registration announcement of Dicamba, and the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee, which most recently met early last week.
Administrator Wheeler also announced an award of $3,224,000 to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission to protect water quality statewide. The funding will support management programs for nonpoint source (NPS) water pollution, which is caused when rainfall or snowmelt carries pollutants into rivers, lakes and other waterbodies.
“Arkansas is fortunate to have an abundance of rivers, lakes, and other waterbodies that contribute greatly to our state’s economy and our way of life. We appreciate the award of this funding that will be used to continue the important programs and partnerships that protect the quality of water across the state,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.
This funding supports the State of Arkansas’ NPS pollution management program, focusing on watersheds with water quality impairments caused by polluted runoff from nonpoint sources. NPS implementation projects include best management practice installations for animal wastes, sediment, pesticide and fertilizer control; other structural and non-structural practices; watershed planning, monitoring, technology demonstrations; and education and outreach programs.
Administrator Wheeler finished the day with the Grand Prairie Farming and Water Company, LLC to see their pump project which uses an innovative surface-water reuse system that aims to prevent aquifer depletion and address nutrient pollution.