Stakeholders Battle in Court Over Chesapeake Bay Restoration

posted in: Environmental Issues | 0

On May 25, 2011, A coalition of environmental groups announced that they have filed a motion in federal court to oppose the efforts of major national agricultural organizations to force an end to federal and state programs to reduce pollution and restore the Chesapeake Bay.

The coalition includes the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, Defenders of Wildlife, the Jefferson County Public Service District, the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Within days after the federal government announced scientific pollution limits and the states laid out specific plans to reduce pollution in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau went to federal court in Pennsylvania to stop those efforts.

They have since been joined by other national agricultural lobbying groups, including the Fertilizer Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Chicken Council, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, and the National Turkey Federation.

“Just as the Bay is making progress in its long fight to survive, these big money industry lobbyists are trying to derail the process.  Why? A simple profit motive,” said Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker. “They want the rest of us to suffer dirty and dangerous water so they can maximize their corn, hog, and poultry profit.”

For decades, science has known that nitrogen and phosphorus pollution are responsible for the dead zones, fish kills, and harmful algal blooms that annually plague the Chesapeake Bay. Under the Clean Water Act, and as the result of numerous court cases, a scientific limit, or TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load), has been set.

State governments then developed plans designed to ensure that all pollution control measures needed to fully restore the Bay and its tidal rivers are in place by 2025, with at least 60 percent of the actions completed by 2017. Science set the limits, and the states designed individual plans to achieve the goals.

Opponents of the pollution limits claim that EPA is overstepping its authority, and wants the process to start all over again.

source: press release from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation,  Defenders of Wildlife, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation & Penn Future

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