Judge Rules For EPA In Chesapeake Bay Pollution Controls Case

Spencer, IA: A federal judge has ruled against ag groups in the fight over pollution controls in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

District Judge Sylvia Rambo on Friday denied the ag groups’ motion seeking a summary judgment in the case while granting a motion for summary judgment by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Overall, Rambo ruled that groups opposed to EPA’s role in the Chesapeake Bay had failed to demonstrate that EPA’s decisions were either arbitrary or capricious.

The legal fight is over the administration of a plan for regulating runoff into the Chesapeake Bay, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load standard (TMDL).

Rambo ruled the Chesapeake Bay TMDL is legal and that EPA has authority to supervise how the states carry out their management plans to meet the water quality standards established under the TMDL plan.

In the ruling, the judge said EPA has not infringed upon states’ rights under the Clean Water Act. The judge said that, given the complexities of regulating an interstate water body like the Chesapeake Bay “EPA’s role is critical to coordinating the bay jurisdictions’ efforts to ensure pollution reduction.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation is one of the ag groups that sued EPA in January 2011 over the pollution controls. An attorney for the AFBF indicated Tesday that an appeal of the decision is very likely.