Bipartisan Group Cites Silviculture Report as Proof of Flaws in EPA's TMDL Rules

Jun 15, 2000

Bipartisan Group Cites Silviculture Report as Proof of Flaws in EPA's TMDL Rules

Washington, DC — Today, a bipartisan group of House Members led by Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member Eva Clayton (D-NC) urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw its proposed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rules in light of egregious mistakes discovered in data used to formulate provisions related to silviculture.

In producing their recently released report, A Review of Waterbodies Listed as Impaired by Silvicultural Operations, the Society of American Foresters and the National Association of State Foresters surveyed all 1040 waterbodies identified by the EPA as impaired by silviculture.  Based on information provided by eighteen states, researchers found that silviculture played a possible role in affecting only 84 of these waterbodies.

"This report reinforces what has been our criticism of EPA all along — that the EPA's proposed rules are not supported by accurate and reliable scientific data," Goodlatte said.
"Furthermore, the implications of this report extend well beyond forestry.  It calls into question the credibility of all the scientific data EPA is using to justify its proposed rules."

"Like many of my colleagues, I do not think EPA should hastily finalize a potentially flawed rule which expands the agency's preferred regulatory approach," said Subcommittee Ranking Member Eva Clayton (D-NC).  "Many state officials believe this would result in states spending their time and resources on litigation, rather than on resolving real water quality problems in the field using proven non-regulatory programs."

Due to overwhelming public opposition to these proposed rules, and because the data used by EPA has been proven inadequate and unscientific, the Agency has removed provisions relating to silviculture from its proposed TMDL rules.  Because similar mistakes have likely been made with regard to agriculture, Members present at a briefing today for staff and press urged the EPA to withdraw its rules entirely to allow for a full scientific review of the proposed regulations.

"We agree with EPA that flawed science and overwhelming public opposition are powerful reasons to reconsider the forestry provisions in the proposed rules," Goodlatte said.  "However, because of the larger scientific credibility issues raised by this report and the near universal opposition to the proposed rules by farmers, landowners, states, the environmental community and others, the most fair and prudent step for the EPA to take at this juncture is to withdraw its rules entirely and go back to the drawing board."