News & Resources

NMPF Asks EPA to Reassess Washington State Nitrate Study

October 2, 2019

In a letter to Administrator Andrew Wheeler, NMPF asked the Environmental Protection Agency to reassess a 2012 study examining the sources of nitrates in Washington’s Yakima Valley.  This report unfairly accuses local dairy farmers of contributing the majority of nitrates in lower Yakima Valley groundwater. When this study was published, there were questions and concerns raised by some of the top scientists and agronomists in the country that were apparently ignored by the Region 10 EPA staff.  Yet EPA has used this flawed study as the basis for regulatory decisions.

The study had several flaws, including inadequate data to support the conclusions that were being made, limited site information, using data only pertaining to the soils in the Yakima valley, errors in estimating the seepage rates from manure lagoons and not accounting for all sources of nitrates. Other groups have written letters, as has Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA, in support of doing a new review of the study. NMPF is hoping the agency will soon conduct a more thorough review of the science.