A District Court judge has upheld that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to set and enforce Total Maximum Daily Load for the Chesapeake Bay. The case has implications for Midwestern farmers and ag retailers.
U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo in Harrisburg, ruled that EPA could impose nutrient standards on six states and Washington, D.C., that have waters that flow into Chesapeake Bay. Rambo rejected arguments that EPA had overstepped its bounds under the federal Clean Water Act, created an unfair process and used standards that were flawed or unlawfully complicated, the Associated Press reported.
The American Farm Bureau Federation, which originally filed the suit in 2011, issued a statement regarding the judge’s decision.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman issued the following statement regarding the court’s decision:
"The American Farm Bureau Federation is deeply disappointed with the district court's ruling upholding the Environmental Protection Agency's total maximum daily load for the Chesapeake Bay.
"We believe the ruling is incorrect and has huge implications for farmers and many others in the Bay area and nationwide.
"Win or lose in this lawsuit, farmers care deeply about our natural environment and want to do our part to improve water quality.
"But Congress did not authorize EPA to dictate how farmers, builders, homeowners, and towns would share the responsibility of achieving clean water. That is the states' job.
"We believe EPA's approach wrongly puts federal agency staff in charge of intensely local land use decisions.
"AFBF and our allies in this case are reviewing the decision and evaluating next steps."
AFBF was not alone in its lawsuit. Other industry groups that joined AFBF include the Fertilizer Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Chicken Council, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and the National Turkey Federation.
National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the district court’s ruling upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Maximum Daily Load for the Chesapeake Bay:
“The National Corn Growers Association is disappointed to hear the court’s decision to uphold the TMDL in the Chesapeake Bay. We continue to believe the Chesapeake Bay TMDL goes beyond the scope of Clean Water Act authority and has a negative impact on agricultural production and innovation.
“America’s farmers are the original environmentalists. They care deeply about the land and water quality from which they make their livelihood and raise their families. However, the policies and science behind the Chesapeake Bay TMDL are wrong.
“NCGA and our agriculture partners are reviewing our options and next steps.”