Augusta Supervisors Debate Response to EPA Mandates - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Augusta Supervisors Debate Response to EPA Mandates

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Augusta County is facing a dilemma. The powers that be are trying to figure out what to do about the Environmental Protection Agency and its involvement in regulating water pollution in the county.

The EPA has issued mandates aimed at reducing nutrient pollution that flows into the Chesapeake Bay in the long term. Naturally, this would come with a price tag, and right now supervisors are debating the best course of action. There's dissent on the Board of Supervisors on how to handle getting accurate data.

Augusta Supervisor Marshall Pattie wants to act now to gauge how much pollution there really is coming out of Augusta County. The EPA already has its own average, but Pattie says there's a chance it might not be that high. In the end, he says the EPA could demand $159 million worth of changes.

"In my opinion, it's the biggest threat to Augusta County landowners," he said. "If nothing's done, the EPA can come in and tell our property owners what to do without us saying anything. We have no defense at all," Pattie said.

Pattie advocates for collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to obtain more accurate information. That would cost $250,000, but he says the board would apply for grants.

Long-time farmer and Supervisor David Beyler staunchly disagrees. He says this is not up to the board, but rather the state and the feds to work on.

"Everything is escalated, and all these costs are clear out of line," he said. "This is something that the state is responsible for and the state should be doing this project and not the county."

Beyler says that paying for this research would be a waste of taxpayer dollars, and a distraction from larger issues. "The county has enough problems that they should not be working on this one," he said.

The EPA has confirmed that it would accept the information coming out of the proposed USGS research.

The Augusta County Board of Supervisors will likely take up the issue again when they meet later this month.

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