The future of the Chesapeake Bay looks a little cleaner Monday, after a federal appeals court struck down a case that sought to undermine an effort to clean up the bay.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ newly-released opinion upholds a decision made by a lower court that found that the Environmental Protection Agency-led cleanup effort, which involves all six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, is legal. The plan, called the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint, establishes a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for how much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment can enter the bay each year — limits that aim to cut these forms of pollution by 20-25 percent by 2025.
The EPA’s plan is being put in place by the states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But a range of agriculture groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Fertilizer Institute, and the National Pork Producers Council, have taken issue with the plan, with the Farm Bureausuing the EPA over it in 2011. That lawsuit garnered the support of 21 attorneys general from states almost exclusively outside the Chesapeake Bay region, who claimed that the rule constituted EPA overreach.