Legal brief filed in Mississippi River Basin Lawsuit

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), submitted a joint memorandum as interveners in opposition to the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), et al (plaintiffs) and in support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In addition, 13 states also intervened in support of our position. The intervention of these 13 states, which came about through the encouragement of TFI, our members and other stake holders, sends a critical message to EPA that the states will not tolerate federal preemption of their water quality standards.

In our brief, we argue the EPA acted reasonably by denying the plaintiffs petition to set multi-state numeric nutrient criteria (NNC). Specifically, we argue the plaintiffs failed to show the necessity of EPA setting a multi-state NNC; that the Clean Water Act (CWA) specifically gives deference to the states in setting water quality standards; and the plaintiffs failed to show that the states in the MRB are failing to improve water quality standards.

In addition, the brief argues that not only does EPA not have a scientifically robust system to set such standards; but also that the legal underpinnings are questionable. The brief argues that EPA was correct to deny the plaintiffs petition based on 40 years of CWA precedent. The authority to set water quality standards lies almost exclusively with the states. We believe the states know their watersheds and their issues better than the EPA. 

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