Clean Water Wins in Court
A federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, released 6 July 2015, upholds a lower court decision that affirmed the legality of the multistate Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort. The historic ruling found in favor of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), and other intervenors. It will ensure that efforts to clean up local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay will continue.
After decades of failed voluntary efforts, and as part of the settlement of a 2008 Clean Water Act lawsuit by CBF in December 2010, the EPA 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, the states developed individual plans on how to achieve those limits and committed to 2-year milestones that outline the actions they will take to achieve those limits, and the EPA promised consequences for failure. Together, the limits, plans, and milestones make up the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
“The Chesapeake Bay TMDL will require sacrifice by many, but that is a consequence of the tremendous effort it will take to restore health to the bay,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “Farm Bureau’s arguments to the contrary are unpersuasive, and thus we affirm the careful and thorough opinion of the district court.”