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DiPietro to Serve on EPA Advisory Committee Addressing National Water Quality Concerns

May 2, 2024
Laura DiPietro

VAAFM Water Quality Director Laura DiPietro Will Advise EPA on Effective Management of National Water Quality Programs

May 2, 2024 | Montpelier, VT - This past August, in response to two petitions sent by environmental and community groups, the EPA decided to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) program to consider the most effective and efficient ways to reduce pollutants generated from those operations. To address these concerns, EPA established a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) subcommittee, called the Animal Agriculture and Water Quality (AAWQ) subcommittee, under the existing Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC).

Vermont recently learned that Laura DiPietro, the Water Quality Division Director for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets has been selected to serve on this advisory committee.

“I’m very excited to take the 20 years of experience and knowledge I’ve gained working with farms in implementing state and federal agricultural water quality regulatory programs to a broader national discussion,” DiPietro said.  “I am also eager to bring that information back to Vermont with reflection on how our programs are administered within the national framework."  

After engaging with the AAWQ and reviewing their recommendations, EPA will consider whether to revise its regulations or whether the issues discussed in the petitions can be more effectively addressed through non-regulatory initiatives.

Topics that the AAWQ will discuss include, but are not limited to:

  • Agricultural technology adoption and economics (e.g., digesters, treat and discharge systems, nutrient management technologies).
  • Clean Water Act and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System programs.
  • Day-to-day operations of CAFOs, especially concerning land application, management, or off-site transport of manure, litter, and process wastewater.
  • Development and implementation of agricultural conservation practices and technologies.
  • Public health and environmental impacts of CAFOs.

DiPietro is excited to bring the experiences of Vermont farmers to the discussion knowing how hard they work to protect the environment. 

“Farms are critical to the core of our society, and beyond providing us nutritious food they do so much for conservation and land management in Vermont and across the country.  Vermont farms have been leaders in implementing water quality practices and complying with regulations at a speed and scale that I personally haven’t seen anywhere else.  With that rapid expansion, and ability to get feedback directly from farms, conservation organizations and other government partners along the way, there have been a lot of lessons imparted on me about what works and what does not, and I hope to use that wisdom to guide recommendations that are achievable and successful at a national level.”

DiPietro’s first subcommittee meeting will be held on May 30-31, 2024, at the EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. More information regarding the first meeting, including public participation, will be made available in the Federal Register.  Search for the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee.