American Farm Bureau Federation Takes Bay TMDL Challenge to Supreme Court

A November 6, 2015, Baltimore Sun article confirmed that the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and a coalition of other agriculture and builder groups have appealed a series of lower court decisions to the United States Supreme Court over whether the United States Supreme Court over whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority under the federal Clean Water Act to enact the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Federation had indicated an appeal was likely by taking certain steps, including asking the Court for an extension to the normal filing deadline.

AFBF’s arguments have been rejected twice before in lower court holdings. From the Sun article:

In a petition filed with the high court, the industry groups argue that the Environmental Protection Agency’s “blueprint” for restoring the bay “opens the door for a dramatic expansion of federal power” and must be overturned. …

“It’s about whether EPA has the power to override local decisions on what land can be farmed, where homes can be built, and where schools, hospitals, roads and communities can be developed,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker called the groups’ appeal to the Supreme Court “both predictable and sad.” He said he believed the justices will uphold the lower courts’ rulings and refuse to hear the case. …

Baker said the industry groups need to accept that the EPA cleanup plan “is the best hope for restoring water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.

AFBF Summary of Case History

Prior Conduit Street Coverage