(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and its allies, including the National Association of Homebuilders, made it clear that they intend to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn two lower court decisions upholding the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint. The AFBF requested an extension of time to ask the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of their lawsuit challenging the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
The AFBF and the Homebuilders originally sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in federal district court in 2010. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) formally intervened in support of the Blueprint and EPA. In 2014, after losing in federal district court, AFBF and its allies appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which also ruled against them.
In response to the Supreme Court request, CBF President William C. Baker issued the following statement.
"We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the Farm Bureau and its allies continue to challenge the plan to restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. Despite strong and well-reasoned decisions by the two lower courts, this filing shows the Farm Bureau's determination to undermine efforts of six states and the District of Columbia to finally restore this national treasure.
"As part of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the states asked EPA to determine how much pollution must be reduced to restore local waterways and the Bay, and the states and District of Columbia each developed individual plans to achieve those reductions. AFBF's argument that this is an EPA over-reach has been twice rejected by federal courts, and we will argue that the issues are settled and there is no reason for the Supreme Court to hear this case.
"We and our members have repeatedly encouraged the Farm Bureau and the Homebuilders to put their energy and money into working with us to reduce agricultural and runoff pollution, the largest sources of pollution degrading the Bay. We believe working together to reduce pollution is a far more productive approach than re-arguing points that have been resolved.
"Although the Farm Bureau often states that it wants clean water, its actions belie its words. Because CBF believes that the Blueprint is our last hope for clean water, we will continue to defend the Blueprint in the courts, in our states, and in our communities for the benefit of all who depend on and value clean water."