Monday, February 29, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Denies PA Farm Bureau Challenge To Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday denied the request of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the PA Farm Bureau and their allies to take up their case challenging the legality of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan known as the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
The decision means that the ruling of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will stand. That unanimous ruling found the U.S. Environmental Protection AGency did not exceed its authority and that the efforts to restore local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay are entirely legal.
CBF President William C. Baker said in reaction to the ruling: “This is a historic day for the Bay.  Everyone who cares about clean water can breathe easier now that the Supreme Court has let stand the lower court decision that Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is perfectly legal under the federal Clean Water Act.
“Now that all of the legal challenges have been denied, we hope those who have opposed the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint will devote their time, expertise, and money to working with all of the clean water partners to help Save the Bay.
“We have consistently urged partnership not litigation, and now we hope to achieve it.  Let’s show the world that the polarization which poisons so much of our society today can be rejected here on the Bay.  Our collective and collegial efforts to Save the Bay, a true national treasure, can be a model for other waters worldwide.”
In January, the Wolf Administration proposed a Chesapeake Bay Program Reboot to attempt to get the program back on track in meeting the commitments Pennsylvania made to cleanup the state’s rivers and streams.
To his credit, DEP Secretary John Quigley acknowledged last year Pennsylvania would not meet the specific 2017 milestones for reducing nutrient pollution and sediment going into state streams and began work on the Reboot.
Unfortunately the reboot plan was not funded in the Administration’s FY 2016-17 budget request.
The House Environmental Resources and Energy and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees will hold an informational meeting on the Wolf Administration’s Chesapeake Bay Reboot Strategy today starting at noon.
In the Chesapeake Bay region, there have been decades of failed voluntary efforts to reduce pollution and restore water quality.
As part of the 2010 settlement of a Clean Water Act legal action by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its partners, the states and EPA worked cooperatively to established science-based limits on the pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams (formally known as a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL).
In addition, each state developed its own plan to achieve those limits and committed to two-year milestones that outline the actions they will take to achieve those limits. EPA promised consequences for failure. Together, the limits, plans, and milestones make up the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and represent what many consider the moment in time for clean water in the Chesapeake Bay.
A peer-reviewed economic analysis commissioned by CBF found that achieving the pollution limits would return $22 billion annually in natural benefits.
Within weeks of the 2010 announcement, the Farm Bureau and its allies filed suit in federal court claiming EPA over-reach. After losing in federal District Court, they appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
That three-judge panel agreed with the lower court and unanimously rejected the Farm Bureau’s claims. They subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court and Monday’s decision ends their challenge.
Crable: Court Refuses To Hear Challenge To Chesapeake Bay Cleanup
Court Ruling On Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Shows Need To Improve Water Quality
Related Stories:
CBF-PA: Wolf’s Budget Proposal Lacks Adequate Funding For Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan
CBF-PA: Wolf’s Budget Proposal Lacks Adequate Funding For Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan

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