The Fight to Save the Blueprint

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request of the American Farm Bureau Federation and its allies to take up their case challenging the legality of the Chesapeake Bay clean-up plan known as the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

That decision means that the ruling of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will stand (see sidebar). That unanimous ruling found that EPA did not exceed its authority and that the efforts to restore local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay are entirely legal.

Within weeks of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) establishment of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to clean up the Chesapeake Bay in 2010, the plan was attacked by special interests with enormous political influence, and by the attorneys general from 21 states (see sidebar 21 States Against A Clean Chesapeake).

The national agricultural and development industry groups working to derail pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay (technically called the Chesapeake Bay "Total Maximum Daily Load," or TMDL) in federal court also spend more than $15 million a year on lobbying and political contributions, according to records on file with the U.S. House and Senate and Federal Election Commission. (More details can be found in our fact sheet)

Here are some numbers detailing the lobbying and political activities of these national organizations that are opposing the Clean Water Blueprint:

American Farm Bureau (including state subsidiaries)

  • The American Farm Bureau reported $5,584,814 in lobbying expenses in 2010, slightly more than the $5,194,042 in 2009, according to lobbying reports on file with the clerks of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
  • The American Farm Bureau paid 48 lobbyists in 2010.
  • American Farm Bureau lobbyists opposed (among many other bills) the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act and the Clean Water Restoration Act.
  • The American Farm Bureau has numerous political action committees (PACs) linked to affiliated state Farm Bureau offices, which have spent a total of $8,648,678 on campaign contributions and other political activities since 2005, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Note: It's important to remember that the American Farm Bureau does not speak for all farmers. Many farmers in the watershed are conscientious land stewards who are taking steps to reduce erosion and nutrient runoff. Click here to read a few of the many "Farmer Success Stories".

Fertilizer Institute

  • The Fertilizer Institute reported $1,485,254 in lobbying expenses in 2010, compared to $1,351,466 in 2009, according to forms on file with the clerks of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
  • The Fertilizer Institute employed four lobbyists in 2010.
  • Among other subjects, Fertilizer Institute lobbyists have fought important environmental legislation—including the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009. These lobbyists also supported legislation that would prohibit EPA from issuing any regulations to control greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Fertilizer Institute also has a political action committee,called "Fert PAC," that has distributed $444,991 for political activities since 2005, according to the Federal Election Commission.

National Pork Producers Council

  • The National Pork Producers Council reported $1,126,549 in lobbying expenses in 2010, and $1,305,811 in 2009, according to forms on file with the clerks of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
  • The National Pork Producers Council paid 31 lobbyists in 2010.
  • Among other bills, pork lobbyists fought the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, and supported legislation that would prohibit the federal or state governments from issuing air pollution control permits for hog livestock businesses.
  • The National Pork Producers Council also has a political action committee, called "Pork PAC," which has distributed $728,966 for political activities since 2005, according to the Federal Election Commission.

National Corn Growers Association

  • The National Corn Growers Association spent $495,000 on lobbying in 2010, slightly more than the $485,000 it spent in 2009, according to according to forms on file with clerks of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
  • The National Corn Growers Association paid 12 lobbyists in 2010.
  • The National Corn Growers Association opposed, among other bills, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009 and the Clean Water Restoration Act.
  • The National Corn Growers Association has a political action committee, called "Corn PAC," that has distributed $384,959 for political activities since 2005, according to the Federal Election Commission.

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

  • The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association spent $40,000 lobbying in 2010, and the same amount in 2009, according to according to forms on file with the clerks of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
  • The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association paid one lobbyist in 2010.
  • Among other subjects, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association lobbied EPA on its Chesapeake Bay strategy and the federal agency's rules for Confined Animal Feeding Operations or "CAFOs."

National Association of Home Builders

  • The National Association of Home Builders spent $2,410,000 lobbying at the federal level in 2010, and $4,935,000 in 2009, according to forms on file with the clerks of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
  • The National Association of Home Builders paid 33 lobbyists in 2010.
  • The National Association of Home Builders opposed, among other legislation, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009, the Clean Water Protection Act, and the Clean Water Restoration Act.
  • The National Association of Home Builders has a political action committee, called "Build PAC," that has distributed $10,849,760 for federal campaign contributions and other political activities since 2005, according to the Federal Election Commission.
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