FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2017
Arkansas Water Quality Shows Dramatic Improvement
EPA Announces 335 Waters Now Meeting Standards
LITTLE ROCK – According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Arkansas’s water has dramatically improved. In a Thursday morning meeting in Little Rock, Governor Asa Hutchinson met with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt during his visit to Arkansas on his national state action tour. At this meeting, Administrator Pruitt announced that EPA approved Arkansas’s 303(d) list of water quality standards, which sets forth Arkansas’s impaired waters. Arkansas’s list has been pending before the EPA since 2010.
As a result of Arkansas’s efforts, 76 percent of water bodies classified as impaired in 2008 are no longer considered such. After the announcement, a total of 335 waters are now considered to satisfy Arkansas’s water quality standards.
“Under the Trump Administration, EPA is focused on partnering with states to achieve the best environmental outcomes,” said EPA Administrator Pruitt. “I am proud to announce that EPA is now approving the 303(d) list that recognizes Arkansas’s water quality improvements made under Governor Hutchinson’s leadership.”
“Today’s announcement by the EPA means 76 percent of Arkansas water bodies impaired in 2008 are no longer showing impairments,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Arkansas has taken great strides to protect and to enhance our natural environment, and this decision underscores that effort. I also appreciate Administrator Pruitt for listening to the states about how regulations affect our citizens. The clear and efficient regulations from EPA under his leadership—as well as the agency's focus on a more balanced partnership with the states—is good news for Arkansans.”
Governor Hutchinson and Administrator Pruitt were also joined at the meeting by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and two of Governor Hutchinson’s cabinet members, Director Becky Keogh of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Secretary Wes Ward of the Arkansas Agriculture Department.
“Administrator Pruitt's visit to Arkansas and his recent actions signify EPA's commitment to return power back to the states,” said Director Keogh. “EPA's approval of Arkansas's 303(d) list further bolsters that commitment and recognizes and supports Arkansas's scientific integrity and successes in continually improving our water quality.”
“Arkansas’s agriculture industry was honored to host EPA Administrator Pruitt and his staff this morning,” said Secretary Ward. “We are pleased that under his leadership the EPA will engage in cooperative federalism and work with our state and our state’s largest industry instead of against it. Today’s approval of Arkansas’s 303 (d) list proves that the EPA is taking real steps toward providing timely regulatory certainty that has been lacking for several years.”
Also on Thursday morning, Governor Hutchinson joined Administrator Pruitt at the Poultry Federation for a roundtable discussion with Arkansas agriculture stakeholders where the Administrator received public comments on the official record regarding the 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. These public comments will assist in the EPA’s actions moving forward on the WOTUS issue. All segments of Arkansas's agricultural industry were represented.
Photos from Administrator Pruitt's visit can be found HERE.