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USE ATTAINABILITY ISSUES IN KANSAS AND MINNESOTA: USING LEGISLATIVE OPTIONS TO FOSTER REASONABLE USE DESIGNATIONS – THE DRIVE-BY UAA

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Communities throughout the country are faced with a wide range of environmental requirements to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws. More recently EPA has begun to require that states ensure compliance with bacteriological as well as nutrient objectives contained within their narrative water quality standards. These standards are derived assuming that high quality fisheries exist and that full body recreation is occurring in the water body. However, full implementation of these requirements may lead to inappropriate and unnecessary expenditure of local resources. In many waters application of such restrictive standards is unrelated to the actual ecological conditions or public health needs due to the manner in which the federal regulatory program for use designations was structured.

In the face of such overbroad regulatory requirements, some municipal and agricultural interests have turned to their state legislatures to amend the requirements to conform to the reality of the environmental setting and to reduce the burden necessary to ensure a proper use designation. This paper describes two such efforts in Kansas and Minnesota and how they worked to achieve more appropriate environmental regulation. The Kansas case study involved the application of primary contact recreation standards to otherwise dry streams where such uses were infeasible. The Minnesota case involved proper classification of water bodies amenable for swimming such that nutrient objectives, intended t protect such uses would be properly applied. The influence of the state legislature on resolving the UAA issues will be discussed and how such efforts may apply to resolve such problems in other states.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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