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Court Rules on Chesapeake Bay Challenge

A lawsuit that challenged EPA's total maximum daily load requirements for the region was stopped in a district court.

Published on: Sep 17, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scored a victory when a district court ruled in its favor for figuring total maximum daily loads for livestock in and around the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The American Farm Bureau Federation and other interested groups had filed suit against the measure in an effort to stop the move on TMDLs for the region that some say could end livestock production in the area.

In its response to the news, Bob Stallman, president, American Farm Bureau Federation issued a statement: "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."

EPA WINS: District court rules against suit aiming to stop EPA approach to TMDLs.
EPA WINS: District court rules against suit aiming to stop EPA approach to TMDLs.

The group is still determining its approach after being overturned in court. Stallman's statement noted that the organization and its allies are reviewing the decision and evaluating next steps.

An Associated Press report notes that U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo ruled that EPA was within its authority to work with six states and Washington, D.C. to set standards to reduce nutrient movement into the bay. The 99-page decision, issued Friday, rejected arguments that EPA went beyond its authority  under the Clean Water Act and created a process that used standards that were "flawed or unlawfully complicated," the AP report says

EPA called the ruling "a victory for the 17 million people in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We can all now as partners refocus our work on achieving clean water goals, building on the progress already happening, and reaping the benefits or restoring local waters and the Bay."