(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) President William C. Baker and partners issued the following statement regarding their brief calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand the lower courts' rulings on challenges to Bay restoration. That brief, along with a brief from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was filed today. Joining CBF are Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, Defenders of Wildlife, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Midshore Riverkeeper, and the National Wildlife Federation.
In December, 2010, the Bay jurisdictions and EPA issued pollution limits that, if achieved, 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 evaluating progress and 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 in the Chesapeake Bay.
An economic analysis commissioned by CBF found that achieving the pollution limits would also return $22 billion annually in natural benefits.
Within weeks of the 2010 announcement, the Farm Bureau and its allies filed suit in federal court claiming EPA over-reach. After losing in federal District Court, they appealed to the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals. That court agreed with the lower court and rejected the Farm Bureau's claims. They subsequently have appealed to the Supreme Court.
Mr. Baker said:
"None of the Bay states or the District of Columbia have joined the Farm Bureau and its allies. That should send a strong message to the U.S. Supreme Court that there has been no over-reach by EPA.
"Judge Sylvia Rambo, who heard the initial case found that the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint was a model of 'cooperative federalism,' exactly what the Clean Water Act intended.
"A unanimous decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals found the arguments of those opposing the Blueprint 'unpersuasive.'
"CBF believes that there is no reason for the Supreme Court to take this case."
National Wildlife Federation President and CEO, Collin O'Mara said:
"The science-based Chesapeake Bay Blueprint is essential to keeping the six states and the District of Columbia working together towards a healthy Bay. The Chesapeake's fish, crabs and other wildlife cannot wait any longer."
Jane Davenport, senior staff attorney at Defenders of Wildlife said:
"The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint will protect the waters and wildlife of the Bay and help restore the incredible economic and recreational benefits that a clean, healthy bay will provide for our region."
Larry Schweiger, PennFuture president and CEO said:
"The impact of pollution on waterways is not limited by state boundaries, so it is essential that the multi-state, science-based plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay that is in place not be disturbed. Importantly, Pennsylvanians will benefit not only from restoring the Bay, but also from the improvements in local water quality that are essential to public health and recreation in the Keystone State."
Kristin Davis, Staff Attorney at Southern Environmental Law Center said:
"The courts have recognized the EPA's authority to develop a cleanup plan for this national treasure. We believe the Supreme Court will deny this petition, finding it unnecessary to revisit the issue."
Tim Junkin, Founder/Advisor, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy said:
"There is a great deal of positive momentum building on the Eastern Shore toward clean water stewardship. Counties are getting involved, spending money, and putting projects on the ground. The community is getting involved and volunteering to clean up our local rivers and streams. I attribute much of this to the Clean Water Blueprint that the states and EPA agreed to. It would be a catastrophe if a few special interests derailed this momentum."