Department Of Natural Resources Meets With Ozarks Property Rights Congress to discuss proposed Small Stream Regulations
Two section heads with the water protection program of the Department of Natural Resources met with the Ozarks Property Rights Congress at their monthly meeting in Mountain Grove on February 26. The packed room heard Phil Schroeder and Robert Morrison explain the MDNR`s current proposal to expand regulatory controls on small Missouri streams that are now considered unclassified.
The two stated the program is still in the “study “stage with no firm date set for implementation. The proposal to expand water quality regulations into smaller streams would place standards on 100,000 additional miles of streams they said. The amended rules would result in expanded programs to control “pollutants” normally associated with agriculture such as nutrients, ammonia, sediments, and bacteria.
During the two hour discussion between the MDNR regulators and the land owners, points of both agreement and contention were touched on. It was generally agreed that specific points of stream pollution caused by city, industrial, or identifiable agricultural use should be dealt with under existing regulations. The landowners objected to the proposal of regulating watersheds where there is no proven need and no identifiable source of a problem as the new proposed regulation would do.
The MDNR representatives admitted there is presently no eminent problem that needs to be addressed with expanded regulations. The purpose is more directed at what might happen in the future, they said. They also said that water quality in the state is improving over previous years.
The loudest objection from the large crowd came when Morrison stated that if the state did not move to place controls on small streams the Federal agencies would step in and do it .The crowd took exception to this position and pointed out 10th Amendment restrictions, state sovereignty, and that such federal control was based on funds doled out from federal to state agencies.
The OPRC is invited by MDNR to join a work group discussing the proposal on small streams. A delegation representing OPRC at future meetings of the work group in Jefferson City will be Travis Morrison, Linda Garrett, Bob Parker, Wilma Urban and Wayne Beck.