In the Courtroom

Sparrows Point  Copyright Garth Lens/iLCPHaving filed a lawsuit in 2010, CBF continues its active litigation which seeks a full investigation and cleanup of pollution at the Sparrows Point steel mill in Baltimore, Maryland. © 2010 Garth Lenz/iLCP

To Protect, Enforce, and Bring About Change

CBF's Litigation Department uses carefully chosen legal action as another tool for advancing the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers, lakes, and streams. Litigation is used to not only protect and enforce the current environmental laws but to bring about environmentally friendly change within our legal system. CBF attorneys argue cases in the federal and state courts within the watershed and file amicus curiaealso called Friend of the Court—briefs in related environmental lawsuits.

Carefully executed litigation serves three primary purposes:

  • It spurs enforcement efforts against those who violate laws that were created to protect the watershed.
     
  • It helps define and drive the agenda for public debate over restoration and protection of the Bay.
     
  • It delivers concrete and enforceable progress in resource restoration.

Learn more about CBF's active cases, concluded cases, and amicus curiae briefs.

EPA's Pollution Limits for the Chesapeake Bay Are Under Legal Assault.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, The Fertilizer Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Chicken Council, the National Association of Home Builders, and other lobbying groups are trying to eliminate the pollution limits. The fate of these limits and the state clean-up plans—in other words, the whole Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint—may hinge on what happens in federal court. CBF and others gave their oral arguments in this case in October 2012. A ruling has not yet been issued.

CBF is also working in court to support new EPA regulations to reduce toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, which contaminates fish and thus puts human health at risk. The federal hazardous air pollutant standards would make a cleaner and healthier Bay, but they have been challenged in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., by power companies and others.

You may also be interested in:
  • Sparrows Point: An Economic and Environmental Liability Neighbors of Sparrows Point in Baltimore, Maryland, including the communities of Turner’s Station, North Point, and Dundalk, have long expressed concerns about the impacts of current and historic releases of toxic chemicals into the air, surface water, and ground water.
  • Federal Court Ruling Affirms Chesapeake Bay Blueprint Pennsylvania Federal Judge Sylvia Rambo today issued a ruling upholding Bay clean-up efforts, and rejecting the arguments of the Farm Bureau, the National Association of Home Builders, and other big agriculture interests. The ruling affirmed that EPA, working with the states, has the authority to set science-based pollution limits.
  • CBF Challenges Plan for Offshore Testing at Steel Plant CBF and its partners have appealed a court ruling that would allow the owners of the Sparrows Point steel plant to conduct only a minimal investigation into offshore pollution at the plant.
  • Bear Creek: Where Residents Fish. And Worry. The scariest thing in the area these days certainly isn't black bears. It might be the creek itself.
  • CBF and Partners Call on Court to Dismiss Bay Clean-up Lawsuit CBF has called on Pennsylvania federal court Judge Sylvia Rambo to dismiss a lawsuit filed by agricultural and home building lobbyists who are seeking to abolish scientifically developed limits on pollution that is destroying the Chesapeake Bay.

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