Water resources are essential to the United States’ health and economic well-being. The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary federal statute regulating water quality. Congress expressly empowered the States with primary authority to implement the CWA. EPA maintains a limited, oversight role. This cooperative federalism structure promotes the establishment of responsible and cost-effective State water quality programs that are tailored to each State’s unique water resources.
Agriculture has an important role to play in ensuring the protection of our water resources, but also faces challenges including increased attention on agricultural nutrients in waterways, the development of TMDLs, attempts to broaden federal jurisdiction over waterways, and extending CWA permitting requirements to activities regulated by other environmental statutes.