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AG Schmidt: Kansas leads charge against micromanaging EPA runoff regulations

TOPEKA – (February 3, 2014) – Kansas is leading a bipartisan group of 21 states urging rejection of an EPA effort to regulate how states achieve nutrient runoff standards, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.

Kansas today filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia asking the Court to reject an EPA effort to impose detailed new nutrient-runoff standards on states in the Chesapeake Bay region. The Kansas brief was joined by 20 other states, including states with both Democrat and Republican attorneys general.

“The issue is whether EPA can reach beyond the plain language of the Clean Water Act and micromanage how states meet federal water-quality standards,” Schmidt said. “We think the clear answer is ‘no,’ and we would prefer to get that answer while the question surrounds land use in the Chesapeake Bay instead of waiting for EPA to do the same thing along the Mississippi River basin.”

The Kansas-led brief is the latest in a series of skirmishes between states in the Mississippi River basin and EPA over management of nutrients that wash into waterways from farm fields and suburban lawns. Two years ago, Kansas joined an effort objecting to a lawsuit filed in federal court in New Orleans that was attempting to force EPA to regulate runoff more intensely.

“Congress deliberately structured the Clean Water Act to involve states in the decision-making process when nonpoint source runoff is being regulated,” Schmidt said. “That’s because runoff regulation inevitably implicates land use decisions and private property rights, and Congress did not intend to centralize those decisions in Washington, D.C.”

The case in which Kansas filed its amicus brief this week is American Farm Bureau Federation, et al., v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Case No. 13-4079. Kansas is supporting the plaintiff, American Farm Bureau Federation.

States joining the Kansas-led brief are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.