Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Farm Groups Appeal Chesapeake Bay Ruling

On October 8, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Corn Growers Association are among the groups who said they have each filed a notice to appeal the September 13th federal district court decision which upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s rights to work with the six states in the 64,000 square foot Chesapeake Bay watershed to regulate runoff.

AFBF, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the Fertilizer Institute, the National Chicken Council, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Turkey Federation, and the National Association of Home Builders originally filed suit in January 2011 in federal district court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The ruling of Judge Sylvia Rambo gave EPA wide discretion to work on a “pollution diet” saying in her decision that “[t]he EPA is within its rights under the Clean Water Act to partner with the six states in the bay watershed to cut the pollution that pours in from sewers and construction developments, and particularly chemical and biological waste from farms.”

The AFBF press release states that AFBF seeks an appeal “to preserve the primary role of states in setting land use policy and determining how to achieve water quality goals.”  According to AFBF, “the Clean Water Act puts states in the drivers’ seat to determine how farmers, builders, homeowners and towns will share the responsibility of achieving clean water.  EPA’s framework puts EPA in control of these decisions.”

For more information on the appeal, see the AFBF press release.  For more information on the district court ruling, see the District Court Opinion and our September 16 blog post.  Visit the Penn State Agricultural Law Center’s Chesapeake Bay Resource Area for further resources.

Written by Alyssa Looney – Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
October 9, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

EPA Prevails in Chesapeake Bay Watershed Suit

On September 13, 2013, the court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania filed a decision in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the lawsuit brought by American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Judge Rambo, writing for the court, stated that deference must be given to agency (EPA) findings due to their scientific and technical expertise. She explained that the plaintiff (AFBF) failed to meet its burden of showing that the EPA’s issuance of the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load was arbitrary and capricious. Additionally, the court found that the procedures established to ensure public participation in the TMDL drafting process were sufficient to withstand scrutiny under the Administrative Procedures Act. In Judge Rambo’s conclusion, she states that the EPA did not infringe on Bay state’s rights under the Clean Water Act because the CWA is an all-encompassing and comprehensive statute in which Congress envisioned a strong federal role in enforcing.

For more information on the lawsuit, please see the Penn State Agricultural Law Center’s Chesapeake Bay Resource Area.
Written by Sarah L. Doyle - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
September 16, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Chesapeake Bay Program Posts Abridged Watershed Agreement for Public Comments

On July 10, 2013, the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) released an abridged version of its Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The agreement, which is in its draft stage, is available for public input until August 15, 2013.

The CBP states that the agreement “outlines new goals and outcomes that will guide partners in protection, restoration and stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay.” The first Chesapeake Bay Agreement was signed in 1983, and the most current agreement was signed in 2000. The CBP hopes to evolve the Chesapeake Bay restoration process and stewardship effort through the new agreement.

The draft agreement contains a number of goals and outcomes including the maintenance of fisheries and enhancement of water quality. The signatories of the agreement will indicate their level of involvement in the Management Strategies developed to execute the goals and outcomes “depending upon relevance, resources, priorities, or other factors enhancing or limiting participation.”

The CBP states that once a final draft is created, stakeholder input will be solicited again.

For more information or to provide input, please see the CBP website on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

Please visit our Chesapeake Bay Resource Area for more information on the history of Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreements.
Written by Sarah Doyle - Research Assistant

The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center

July 15, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summary of Chesapeake Bay TMDL Litigation

Earlier this year, I spoke to the Chesapeake Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee in Annapolis during their workshop addressing Multiple Models for Management in the Chesapeake Bay.  The focus of my presentation was the ongoing litigation between the American Farm Bureau Federation and EPA regarding the promulgation of the final TMDL.  I was recently asked to summarize this presentation and have posted this brief summary on the Chesapeake Bay Resource Area of the Agricultural Law Center website.  The publication is entitled Legal Challenge to EPA's Promulgation of Final Chesapeake Bay TMDL.

Monday, June 10, 2013

CBF, EPA Sign 4-Part Agreement Amending 2010 Settlement

The EPA and CBF have reached an alternative agreement following a 2010 settlement where the EPA agreed to promulgate a new federal concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) rule. According to a CBF press release, the EPA stated it came “under significant fire for imposing new regulations,” and has now reached an alternative agreement with the CBF. In the four part, legally binding, agreement, the EPA is required to: 1) audit each state’s CAFO programs to ensure state watershed implementation program (WIP) pollution reduction goals are met, and to take action if they are not; 2) inspect feeding operations in the Bay region to ensure compliance, and take action against farms not in compliance; 3) review specific CAFO permits and the related nutrient management plans to determine effectiveness, and to take action against ineffective plans; 4) utilize data collected to determine if revisions to national CAFO rules are needed.

For more information on the settlement amendments, visit the CBF’s website.

Written by: Garrett Lent
Penn State Law, Agricultural Law Center
June 2013