After more than a dozen full-day hearings over the past year, the Central Coast Water Board approved Ag Order 4.0 on Thursday, just hours before a court-mandated deadline.

An industry coalition engaged in the lengthy and technical discussions said the revised order still fell short of providing essential elements for the regulation to be successful among growers.

Tess Dunham, a water quality attorney for Kahn, Soares & Conway, called it “an abuse of discretion” to regulate fertilizer applications and set limits on nitrogen inputs. Dunham also felt the order was punishing growers for 1,2,3-TCP contamination, a pesticide chemical that hasn’t been applied since the 1990s.

Board members expect to the regulation to continue to evolve over time.