EPA approves clean water program for Oklahoma
The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is approving Oklahoma's request for issuing agriculture-based Clean Water Act discharge permits to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Oklahoma will take over responsibility to implement the Agriculture Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program covering discharges associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, the application of biological or chemical pesticides, discharges from forestry activities, and discharges of storm water from agricultural activities.
"Oklahoma has shown it's prepared to take on this important Clean Water Act program," said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. "We look forward to working with our co-regulators in Oklahoma as we ensure a smooth transition for the benefit of the both the business community and the people of Oklahoma."
The EPA and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry both agree that states are best equipped to administer our environmental programs. The Oklahoma legislature first proposed the delegation of authority from EPA to ODAFF in 1994 and the state is pleased that it has finally come to fruition. Oklahoma has a proven track record of meeting and exceeding standards that ensure agricultural operations are adhering to guidelines that protect natural resources. Oklahoma removed more streams from the EPA impaired stream list than any other state in 2011 and has removed a total of 19 streams from the list in the last two years.
"We look forward to taking on the responsibility of the AgPDES program," said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese. "We plan to continue to exceed expectations in protecting our natural resources in Oklahoma."
The Clean Water Act of 1972 created the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program under which the EPA may issue permits for the point source discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States. The Act requires the EPA to authorize a state to administer an equivalent state program upon the Governor's request, provided the state has the appropriate legal authority and a program sufficient to meet the Act's requirements.
On Aug. 16, the governor of Oklahoma requested NPDES permit program approval and submitted a Statement of Legal Authority, copies of applicable state statutes and regulations, and a Memorandum of Understanding to be approved by the EPA Region 6 regional administrator and the commissioner of agriculture for the ODAFF.
More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at www.epa.gov/region6/newsevents/index.html.
More about the Clean Water Act is available at www.epa.gov/lawsregs/laws/cwa.html.