(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) President William C. Baker issued this statement concerning a brief filed by 22 state attorneys general asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The brief is in support of the request of the American Farm Bureau Federation and its allies asking the Supreme Court to hear the appeal of their lawsuit against EPA.
In December, 2010, the Bay jurisdictions and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced pollution limits that would restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. The states developed individual plans to achieve those limits, with a goal of 60 percent implementation by 2017 and 100 percent by 2025. In addition, the states committed to taking specific actions in two-year increments called milestones. Together, the limits, plans, and milestones make up the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and represent what many consider the moment in time for clean water.
Within weeks of the announcement, the Farm Bureau and its allies filed suit in federal court claiming EPA over-reach. CBF intervened in that suit, supporting EPA. After losing in federal District Court, the plaintiffs appealed to the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals. That court agreed with the lower court and rejected the Farm Bureau's claims.
Mr. Baker said:
"The federal courts were correct in rejecting the claim that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its authority.
"Remember, the states asked EPA to set the pollution limits to help restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Bay. This request came after decades of failed, voluntary agreements to do so. The states and federal agencies working together in partnership under a binding deadline exhibit exactly the type of "cooperative federalism" that Congress intended when it passed the Clean Water Act, as Federal Judge Sylvia Rambo and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals both affirmed.
"The states which support the Farm Bureau are in direct conflict with the six states in the Bay watershed, all of whom are directly affected by the Bay Blueprint, and none of whom oppose EPA.
"We believe that the Supreme Court will reaffirm the significant factual and legal support for Bay restoration established by the lower courts."