Farmers’ Group Challenges EPA Enforcement in Federal Court

The ambitious and aggressive plan by the federal Environment Protection Agency to curb runoff and pollutants into the Chesapeake Bay has triggered concerns from the agricultural community, recently culminating in a lawsuit from a major farmers’ organization. From the Washington Post coverage:

A major farmers group filed a federal lawsuit Monday to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most aggressive effort yet to clean the polluted Chesapeake Bay watershed, saying that the costs of the cleanup will devastate farms and possibly drive them from the region.

The complaint was filed by the American Farm Bureau Federation and one of its members, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, in a federal court in Harrisburg. It says that the EPA’s plan cannot be legally enforced because its methods of determining the bay’s pollution from nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment are flawed.

The groups also said that states, not the EPA, can enforce a “pollution diet” and that the agency’s process for determining a pollution diet for the bay moved too quickly and did not allow for public participation.

The federal limitations, including imposition of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of certain chemicals and sediment, have triggered widespread concern about cost and state/local administration as Maryland, and surrounding states, face dramatic hurdles ahead with their Watershed Implementation Plans. Click here for previous coverage on the Conduit Street blog.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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