Capitol Ag Update: DEQ Toxic Standards Rulemaking

DEQ Toxic Standards Rulemaking
By Oregonians for Food and Shelter

The legislature’s House Business and Labor Committee hosted an Informational Hearing on the potential impact of the DEQ proposed water quality regulations on Oregon’s economy. The hearing was open to invited testimony, which only included DEQ Director Dick Pederson, DEQ Water Quality Director Neil Mullane and EPA Region 10 Director Mike Bussell. The regulators faced some very tough questioning from the committee on how these proposed new water quality regulations will impact farming practices in Oregon. Pederson stated he had no intention of regulating farming practices and planned on leaving water quality regulation to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Rep. Cliff Bentz of Ontario questioned the motives of the rulemaking proposal altogether if DEQ had no intention of intervening in the current Agricultural Water Quality Management Plans.

OFB President Barry Bushue was also invited to provide testimony on how the rulemaking proposal will affect the second largest industry in Oregon. He discussed the history of Ag Water Quality Management plans and how effective Oregon farmers and ranchers have been in making significant improvements to the quality of our water. “We have a proven track record and this is accomplished by improving conditions on the land” Bushue stated. He also advised the committee to be cautious of the rule proposal as it will have a significant impact on the practicality of farming in Oregon. “As the state’s second largest industry we provide one of nine jobs in the state. The cost of every increasing regulations in an economy in crisis have meant less jobs in agriculture. These draconian rules will negatively impact our industry.”

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