7 CFR § 650.21 - Working relations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and related State environmental agencies.
(a) Background. The authorities and missions of NRCS, EPA, and state environmental agencies make it imperative that an effective cooperative and coordinative working relationship be developed and maintained in areas of mutual concern. These common areas include air quality, water quality, pesticides, waste recycling and disposal, environmental considerations in land use, Environmental Impact Statements (EIS's) and environmental considerations in the conservation and development of natural resources.
(b) Policy. NRCS will work closely with EPA in accordance with the provisions of the EPA-USDA Memorandum of Understanding July 31, 1974, at all administrative levels and with related state agencies to meet statutory requirements and to achieve harmonious implementation of all actions of mutual concern directed to improving or maintaining the quality of the environment.
(c) Responsibility -
(1) NRCS national office. The Deputy Administrator for Field Services is responsible for overall coordination with EPA at the national office level. The Deputy Administrator for Water Resources is responsible for contacts with EPA in relation to activities of the Water Resources Council on water and related land resource planning and for coordinating work with EPA on EIS development.
(2) Technical service center. The TSC director is responsible for contacts and coordination with EPA regional offices within the group of states served by the TSC.
(3) NRCS state office. The state conservationist is responsible for contacts and coordination with regional representatives of EPA and state environmental agencies in matters of mutual concern within his state.
(d) Coordination and implementation.
(1) The NRCS national office will:
(i) Within the framework of USDA agreements and guidelines, develop agreements for undertaking specific activities or projects of national significance and mutual advantage.
(ii) Assist EPA as requested in developing EPA policy, guidelines, and standards.
(iii) Consider EPA needs in soil survey and land, inventory, and monitoring activities.
(iv) Maintain needed liaison and develop mutual guidelines with EPA on water resources work and in coordinating EIS's.
(v) Advise EPA regarding soils, plant materials, and soil and water conservation techniques.
(vi) Establish procedures for periodic review of NRCS national standards for treatment systems and practices for agricultural pollution abatement, including wind and water erosion and sediment control, transport of pesticides, organic matter and fertilizers, and burning of residues or clearing debris.
(2) The TSC director will:
(i) Within the framework of NRCS memorandums and guidelines coordinate with the EPA regional administrator(s) the development of needed agreements for undertaking specific activities or projects of multistate significance and mutual advantage.
(3) The state conservationist will:
(i) Obtain early input of EPA and interested state and local environmental agencies in the planning process for projects or measures within the state impacting on the environment.
(ii) Coordinate preparations of NRCS practice standards and procedures for agricultural pollution abatement within the state with EPA and related state agencies.
(iii) Encourage the development of a coordinated review and approval process within the state with EPA and appropriate state and local agencies including conservation districts for actions of mutual concern.
(iv) Attempt to resolve all EPA areas of concern on NRCS assisted project-type actions within the state before a final EIS is prepared.