State Water Board Raises Fees Again – Ignores Industry Concerns
Recently, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) voted to increase all of their water quality and water rights fees again. This time they increased the fees across the board. In one program in particular, the Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) Fee had already increased by 112% from 2011 to 2020.
This past week, the SWRCB voted to increase those fees another 16.8%! Despite industry pleas, including testimony from the Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom, the board voted unanimously to increase the economic burden on the agricultural industry once again.
Isom pointed out the SWRCB fees far outweigh other environmental fees altogether, and joined the Ag Council’s Emily Rooney, who also testified, in a call for an outside look into the SWRCB’s financial situation and the setting of fees. It did not sway the board. In addition to the huge increase on WDR fees, which impact food processors and packing houses, fees for the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) increased 15.6% and fees for Confined Animal Feeding (CAF) operations increase 15.4%. The Association and other industry groups are currently weighing next options, which may include a call for an audit of the program.