21 States Oppose Clean Water for Chesapeake Bay States
The American Farm Bureau Federation and Fertilizer Institute have recruited 21 states from across the country to support their efforts to derail Chesapeake Bay restoration. Together, they're seeking to overturn the recent ruling which declared the science-based pollution limits and the cleanup plan legal.
The 21 states involved are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
At issue is the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL or pollution limits), developed by EPA and the Bay states, which sets the maximum nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution that the water bodies can withstand and remain healthy. Taken together, those limits and the individual state plans designed to achieve the pollution reduction goals create the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
Opponents of the Blueprint contend that EPA has usurped the states' authority over land use and development. Those supporting the Blueprint point out that the states and EPA cooperated to develop the pollution limits and that each state developed its own implementation plan. These are exactly the actions called for under the Clean Water Act.
Timeline of the Case
The Chesapeake Bay states have worked with the federal government to develop a Blueprint for clean water in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. And it is working. Hard-working farmers, businesses, and individuals are working together to make our rivers and streams safer, improve habitat, protect human health, and strengthen local economies.
According to their amicus brief, these 21 states are concerned that if the Blueprint works here, other watersheds—like the Mississippi River Basin— "could be next." And they have every reason to be concerned. A recent review of the EPA's National Water Quality Assessment Report indicates these states face their own serious water quality issues.
Eyes of the Nation Are on Chesapeake Bay
In an April 29 press release, CBF President William C. Baker said, "The broad support for Bay restoration from across the country underscores the importance of clean water to the nation. Many eyes are watching what we are doing in the Chesapeake region. Most people understand the economic, environmental, and human health costs of polluted waters. They believe that all of us, including the plaintiffs, should do our fair share to reduce pollution. Sadly, the plaintiffs stand alone, and say, 'Not me.'"
"The joint effort is legally sound and has overwhelming support from the region's residents and from many others from around the country who value the Chesapeake," said Jon Mueller, CBF Vice President for Litigation. "It is unfortunate and counter-productive that the Farm Bureau and its allies continue to fight this cooperative effort to restore clean water to a national treasure."
"We are already seeing progress, demonstrating that when citizens, businesses, and governments work together we can succeed in restoring the health of the regions' rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay," Baker said. "This is the moment in time for Bay restoration and the Blueprint is the best chance to save the Bay."
View the briefs filed in support of EPA and the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint
Get the facts about the Bay Blueprint.