High on the list of farmer complaints is the lack of valid data that has gone into some of the EPA guidelines for total daily maximum load of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.

Farmers have likewise complained openly and loudly that they have not received enough credit for their environmental stewardship and have received too much of the blame for ongoing pollution problems in the Bay.

Congressman Goodlatte zeroed in on some of these complaints in defense of his latest bill.

He says, “The EPA has failed to properly assess nutrient reductions and has also refused to conduct a cost benefit analysis.”

Goodlatte contends his legislation sets up new programs to give farmers, homebuilders and localities new ways to meet their water quality goals.

The bill preserves current intrastate nutrient trading programs that several Bay states have in place, while also creating a voluntary interstate nutrient trading program.

It also has language that reinforces and preserves the ability of states to write their own water quality plans.

The Goodlatte legislation requires that an independent evaluator assess and make recommendations to alter the EPA’s Bay model so that all nutrient reductions that are happening can be captured.

As expected, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was quick to criticize the latest compromise legislation.

As soon as the Goodlatte legislation was announced, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation countered with a statement critical of the bill.

The foundation said the congressman’s legislation “would undo the progress we have made, with adverse impacts on seafood, human health and the regional economy.”

And, the statement says, “This legislation would undermine the pollution limits currently in place, derail clean-up efforts and undercut the federal government’s role in making sure that all Americans have access to clean, swimmable, fishable waters.”

Goodlatte promoted his new bill on the Ag Minute on March 20, touching off a firestorm of responses from concerned parties on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay restoration issue.

Meeting with farmers in Virginia, Goodlatte said one of his biggest concerns is that the EPA has failed to do an adequate cost-benefit analysis of all the Chesapeake Bay mandates it is imposing on the states in the Bay Watershed.