Under pressure from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2009 the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) promulgated water quality standards setting numeric criteria for nitrogen and phosphorus in lakes. In 2011 EPA disapproved Missouri’s lake numeric nutrient criteria (NNC).
Dissatisfied with DNR’s progress toward developing revised lake NNC, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment sued in an effort to compel EPA to set NNC for Missouri. Under the resulting settlement agreement, EPA committed to propose revised lake NNC for Missouri by December 2017, unless by then the agency approved revised NNC submitted by DNR. In December 2017 EPA issued for public comment proposed lake NNC for Missouri. In January 2018 the Missouri Clean Water Commission (CWC) approved revised lake NNC, which DNR submitted to EPA upon completion of procedures for rulemaking as required by state law.
In December 2018 EPA approved Missouri’s revised lake NNC. In 2021 EPA’s approval withstood the Missouri Coalition for the Environment’s challenge in federal court.
MOFB participated in DNR’s stakeholder discussions, presented testimony before the CWC, submitted comments to the EPA and participated in roundtable meetings with EPA officials.
We support preventing state regulations from being stricter than federal law unless justified through a public hearing.
Many factors must be considered when determining water quality goals including the cost of pollution abatement, the needs of agriculture or other industries and the presence of naturally occurring pollutants. Water quality policy must also be carefully tied to a sound scientific base and not dominated by emotional or political appeal.
We oppose efforts by state and/or federal regulatory agencies to designate waterbodies as impaired, including designation for whole body contact, or implement watershed management plans or similar measures in the absence of sound scientific data, clear standards, and the support of affected landowners.