Maryland Joins Several Other Bay States In Support of EPA & Chesapeake Bay TMDL

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the American Farm Bureau Federation has challenged the authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).  A lower federal court upheld EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act and the Federation has an appeal pending before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.  Twenty-one states (twenty of whom are outside of the Bay watershed) have filed briefs in support of the Federation’s position and at least six cities, including Baltimore, have filed briefs in support of the EPA.

An April 29 Daily Record article reported that four of the seven Bay watershed jurisdictions – Maryland, Delaware, Virginia,  and the District of Columbia – have also now filed joint or separate amicus briefs in support of the EPA’s authority.  One Bay watershed jurisdiction – West Virginia – supports the Federation’s position.

Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler argues that the cleanup is making progress and shouldn’t be derailed by outside states with no interest in the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Signing onto his brief are Delaware and the District of Columbia; Virginia earlier had submitted a separate brief in support.  …

“This lawsuit attacks our efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and strengthen its crucial economic value,” Gansler said. “Maryland must preserve its partnership with an effective EPA to safeguard our environment and sustain the thousands of jobs supported by the bay.”  …

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman has called the EPA action “a remarkable power grab.”

But Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker describes the cleanup plan as the troubled bay’s “best, and perhaps last, chance for real restoration.”  …

Besides West Virginia, the 20 states who oppose the Chesapeake plan include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

The article also notes that oral arguments are expected this summer.

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