Revisiting the Fertilizer Industry: A Response to Lopez
This Comment responds to an article published in the February 2022 issue of ELR by Jaclyn Lopez. It discusses the significant agricultural benefits afforded by phosphate fertilizers; summarizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA’s) thorough review of phosphogypsum (PG) stacks and process wastewater pursuant to the Bevill Amendment, culminating in the Agency’s 1991 regulatory determination, and the detailed evaluation of potential phosphoric acid production process changes performed thereafter by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Dialogue Committee; and concludes with a discussion why a "revisitation" of the 1991 regulatory determination is proscribed and unwarranted. It also discusses the substantial federal and state regulations applicable to PG stacks since the 1991 regulatory determination and the significant risk mitigation measures being adopted. Finally, it responds to Lopez’s assertions regarding the need to regulate PG and process wastewater under TSCA, environmental justice concerns, and consideration of PG stacks in National Environmental Policy Act evaluations for phosphate mines.