Chesapeake Bay Foundation Criticizes Midwest State Support of Bay TMDL Challenge

A February 23 Bay Journal commentary (published in the Journal’s March edition) by Chesapeake Bay Foundation Acting Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration Kim Coble criticized the support of a number of Midwest states in an ongoing legal challenge to the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).  The challenge was brought by the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural organizations.  A federal court rejected the challenge and upheld the authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency to implement the Bay TMDL.  That decision has been appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.  Coble claims that the states are motivated by a “fear” that their waters could be subject to a TMDL requirement if the Bay TMDL is ultimately upheld as legal.

Recently, 21 state attorneys general, many from the Midwest, filed a “friend of the court” brief in a federal appeals court seeking to derail the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. While that is absurd, it is also a tribute to the decades of work that has led to the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.  …

The brief says that “If this [cleanup] is left to stand, other watersheds, including the Mississippi River Basin (which spans 31 states from Canada to the Gulf Coast), could be next.”  …

The appeal and the “friend of the court” brief clearly are not about water quality in this region’s rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay. They are driven by the fear that if we succeed here it will be a demonstration to the nation that other waterways can also be cleaned. To legally challenge the cleanup in the Chesapeake because it ultimately may result in the cleanup of other waterways defies common sense.


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