The American Farm Bureau Federation has filed a lawsuit in federal court to halt the Environmental Protection Agency's pollution regulatory plan for the Chesapeake Bay. AFBF says the agency is overreaching by establishing a Total Maximum Daily Load or so-called "pollution diet" for the 64,000 square mile area, regardless of cost. The TMDL dictates how much nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment can be allowed into the Bay and its tributaries from different areas and sources.
According to Farm Bureau, the rule unlawfully "micromanages" state actions and the activities of farmers, homeowners and businesses. EPA's plan imposes specific pollutant allocations on activities such as farming and homebuilding, sometimes down to the level of individual farms. Farm Bureau contends the Clean Water Act requires a process that allows states to decide how to improve water quality.
Also, Farm Bureau says EPA's TMDL is based on inaccurate assumptions. Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says there is a basic level of scientific validity that the public expects and that the law requires. That scientific validity is missing here, and the impact could starve farming and jobs out of the region.
And finally, Farm Bureau believes EPA violated a requirement to allow meaningful public participation on new rules. The suit alleges that EPA failed to provide the public with critical information about the basis for the TMDL and allowed insufficient time for the public to comment.