21 States Against A Clean Chesapeake

21 States Oppose Clean Water for Chesapeake Bay States

UPDATE: On July 6, 2015 a federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Farm Bureau group appeal discussed below.  See Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Farm Bureau Group Appeal

The American Farm Bureau Federation and Fertilizer Institute have recruited 21 states from across the country to support their efforts to derail Chesapeake Bay restoration. Together, they're seeking to overturn the recent ruling which declared the science-based pollution limits and the cleanup plan legal.

The 21 states involved are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

At issue is the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL or pollution limits), developed by EPA and the Bay states, which sets the maximum nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution that the water bodies can withstand and remain healthy. Taken together, those limits and the individual state plans designed to achieve the pollution reduction goals create the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

Opponents of the Blueprint contend that EPA has usurped the states' authority over land use and development. Those supporting the Blueprint point out that the states and EPA cooperated to develop the pollution limits and that each state developed its own implementation plan. These are exactly the actions called for under the Clean Water Act.

Timeline of the Case

The Chesapeake Bay states have worked with the federal government to develop a Blueprint for clean water in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. And it is working. Hard-working farmers, businesses, and individuals are working together to make our rivers and streams safer, improve habitat, protect human health, and strengthen local economies.

According to their amicus brief, these 21 states are concerned that if the Blueprint works here, other watersheds—like the Mississippi River Basin— "could be next." And they have every reason to be concerned. A recent review of the EPA's National Water Quality Assessment Report indicates these states face their own serious water quality issues.

Eyes of the Nation Are on Chesapeake Bay

In an April 29 press release, CBF President William C. Baker said, "The broad support for Bay restoration from across the country underscores the importance of clean water to the nation. Many eyes are watching what we are doing in the Chesapeake region. Most people understand the economic, environmental, and human health costs of polluted waters. They believe that all of us, including the plaintiffs, should do our fair share to reduce pollution. Sadly, the plaintiffs stand alone, and say, 'Not me.'"

"The joint effort is legally sound and has overwhelming support from the region's residents and from many others from around the country who value the Chesapeake," said Jon Mueller, CBF Vice President for Litigation. "It is unfortunate and counter-productive that the Farm Bureau and its allies continue to fight this cooperative effort to restore clean water to a national treasure."

"We are already seeing progress, demonstrating that when citizens, businesses, and governments work together we can succeed in restoring the health of the regions' rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay," Baker said. "This is the moment in time for Bay restoration and the Blueprint is the best chance to save the Bay."

View the briefs filed in support of EPA and the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint

Get the facts about the Bay Blueprint.

In the News

US Appeals Court Upholds EPA Plan to Clean Up Chesapeake Bay
07.06.15 - Associated Press
A U.S. appeals court on Monday approved a federal plan to limit pollution in the Chesapeake Bay despite objections from farmers, builders and others who accused the Environmental Protection Agency of a power grab. Read more

Will Corporate Lobbyists and Conservative AGs Kill a Model Environmental Cleanup?
11.17.14 - BillMoyers.com
Oral arguments will begin this week in a case that has the potential to determine how cities, states and the federal government work together to clean up America's most polluted bodies of water. After years of failed attempts, the Environmental Protection Agency has worked with states to devise a plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, America's largest estuary. But monied interests with huge lobbying budgets representing agriculture, fertilizer and construction — and supported by a collection of out-of-state legislators and attorneys general — are suing to stop the EPA plan from moving forward. Read more

A Conservation Story: Restoring the Chesapeake Bay
10.23.14 - Sustainable Business.com
This story illuminates the drama that enfolds when groups try to clean up the environment. In this case, it's about Chesapeake Bay - the largest estuary in the US - a project that's spanned decades and is nowhere near done. Read more

Saving America From a Clean Chesapeake
07.10.14 - Fly Rod + Reel Online
Recovery of the estuary that provides 75 percent of the Atlantic striped bass population is being fought by 21 states, only one of which is in the watershed..."What are they afraid of if we have clean water in the Chesapeake Bay?" inquires Chesapeake Bay Foundation president Will Baker. It’s an excellent question. Read more

Members of Congress join legal challenge to Bay cleanup plan
06.25.14 - Bay Journal
Thirty-nine members of Congress last week sought to join agricultural and homebuilder groups in their legal challenge to the Bay cleanup plan, saying the EPA went "far beyond" its authority when it set limits on Bay pollution and required states to develop plans showing how they would meet those limits. Read more

Court battle rages over blueprint to clean up the Chesapeake Bay; states as far as Alaska weigh in
05.27.14 - ABC2 News
There's a court battle brewing over the Chesapeake Bay and how to clean it up. On one side is the Environmental Protection Agency and numerous conservation groups. On the other, major players from the farming and construction industries. Now, states that aren't even in the watershed have joined the fray. Read more

Six Major Cities Add Their Support To Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan
04.24.14 - ThinkProgress.org
The Environmental Protection Agency has won some supporters in the fight over the agency’s plan to clean up the heavily polluted Chesapeake Bay, helping to push back against the argument of 21 outside states that the plan constitutes EPA overreach. Read more

Chesapeake Bay Needs the EPA
04.21.14 - The Virginian-Pilot
Attorney General Mark Herring's brief supporting the Chesapeake Bay cleanup represents the kind of common sense Virginians hope to see from the state's lawyer. Read more

Herring Joins Fight to Protect the Chesapeake Bay
04.10.14 - WVEC ABC13
In a brief filed Thursday, Attorney General Mark Herring highlighted the economic impact and environmental significance of protecting the Bay. Read more Video

AG Herring Defends Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan
04.10.14 - The Virginian-Pilot
"I will not let go unanswered the attacks of others on our plan to protect our waters," said Attorney General Mark Herring at a news conference. Read more

The Farm Bureau Had It Wrong on Chesapeake Bay Clean-up
03.11.14 - The Patriot-News
EPA is not "micromanaging" activities in the watershed. Rather, Pennsylvania is implementing the plan the Commonwealth developed and there is nothing in the TMDL that dictates where farming may occur or where homes can be built. Read more

A Clean-Water Plan Worth Fighting For
03.02.14 - The Virginian-Pilot
As Virginians thrilled with recent progress and concerned about the future of our Chesapeake Bay, we should be outraged that Alaska, Texas, Florida and 18 other states want to derail the promising prospects of our blueprint. Read more

American Farm Bureau Road Apples
02.28.14 - Bay Daily
“It's not about whether EPA can set a total pollutant load—it's about whether EPA can dictate which land can be farmed, or where homes, schools and roads can be built." Bay Daily is here to say...BUNK! Nowhere in the Bay Blueprint (TMDL) is EPA given such authority. Read more

Support of Chesapeake Lawsuit Draws Thousands of Petition Signatures
02.27.14 - DelmarvaNow
Three weeks after 21 states signed on to a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay pollution limits, more than 25,000 people have signed a petition condemning the suit. Read more

AG Zoeller Co-Authors Amicus Brief Challenging Chesapeake Bay Cleanup
02.26.14 - Indiana Law Blog
Although Attorney General Zoeller is concerned about Asian Carp in the Wabash, he is challenging a plan crafted by US EPA and the Chesapeake Bay watershed states to save the Bay. Read more

Why Are MI and IN GOP Trying to Wreck Cleanup of Chesapeake Bay?
02.26.14 - RedGreenandBlue.org
The Chesapeake Bay is worlds away from the freshwater Great Lakes, yet that hasn't stopped the attorneys general of Michigan and Indiana from inserting themselves into a legal battle there and siding with opponents of a plan to clean up the Chesapeake. Read more

Indiana Joins Suit Seeking to Halt EPA-led Plan to Clean Up Chesapeake Bay
02.26.14 - The Indiana Lawyer
If Indiana and other states without a direct stake in the Chesapeake Bay have their way, the cleanup hashed out between bay states and the Environmental Protection Agency will be stopped. Read more

Clean Water vs. 21 Dirty States
02.26.14 - The Virginian-Pilot
It's not enough that 21 states have polluted their creeks and rivers—their political leaders now want to keep other states from cleaning up their own waters. Read more

Midwest States Fighting Successful Bay Efforts Lest They Have to Clean Up Their Waters
02.23.14 - Bay Journal
Twenty-one state attorneys general filed a "friend of the court" brief in a federal appeals court seeking to derail the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. While that is absurd, it is also a tribute to the decades of work that has led to the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. Read more

Questions that require an answer are marked with  *
* Please take a moment to provide the following information so that we may keep you updated on issues and events near you.
 E-Mail Address
 First Name
 Last Name
 Zip Code
* Timestamp

You will begin to receive Bay updates from CBF soon.

In the meantime, join the Bay-friendly conversation on Facebook and Twitter!


1-888-SAVEBAY / 1-888-728-3229

BBB Accredited Charity
GuideStar Exchange Gold Participant Seal
Charity Watch Top-Rated

Bids & ProposalsPrivacy Policy

© 2015 Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
All Rights Reserved.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a nonprofit,
tax-exempt charitable organization under
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.