Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bay Farmers to Take EPA to the Supremes

Farm Bureau will take Chesapeake Bay water quality fight to Supreme Court
The American Farm Bureau plans to take its fight over EPA Chesapeake Bay pollution limits to the Supreme Court, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a group in support of the limit plans.

Joining AFBF in the effort to overturn two lower court decisions on the blueprint will be the National Association of Homebuilders.

AFBF has requested an extension of time to ask for the Supreme Court to hear the appeal. The AFBF and the Homebuilders originally sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency in federal district court in 2010, though the case was lost.
The Farm Bureau also provided a great deal of the legal muscle behind the Alt Farm legal case, which ultimately forced EPA to back off some of it's more egregious claims on farm practices.

The issue in this case is the "Bay Diet" plan, which focuses strongly on nutrient pollution from agriculture, and sediment pollution from construction. Both groups feel the modelling that underlies the plan has not fairly represented their contribution, and has unfairly targeted them for expensive reductions.

Can they win at the Supremes?  Which ever way it go, I predict 5-4.

And in a tangentially related point, a Kent County (MD) Commissioner makes an interesting point: Advocating more hysteria, less science?
consider the state of two keystone fisheries in proximity to chickenhouses. In the lower parts of the bay, where poultry operations are said to be concentrated (113 inWicomico County and 87 in Somerset County), the crab and oyster harvests have been the highest in recent years.

In the upper bay, where where poultry operations are more sparse (10 in Kent County and 40 in Queen Anne’s County), there is no oyster fishery to speak of and crabs are scarce.

As goes the oyster goes, the bay. So ask all the environmental groups blaming poultry operations for the bay’s poor health how it is oysters are thriving in parts of the bay nearest to most of the chickenhouses, while in the upper bay — where we have relatively few chickenhouses — oysters are nonexistent.
Yep, the area with more agriculture is in better shape than the area with less agriculture, and:
Where phosphorus loading is the concern, context is essential if we hope to achieve meaningful and measurable improvement to overall water quality. According to a 2012 Chesapeake Bay Program report, Maryland’s annual average phosphorus loading to the bay from agriculture is 985 tons (1.97 million pounds).

Meanwhile, the average annual phosphorus loading from the Susquehanna River (the largest tributary feeding the bay) is no less than 3,300 tons (6.6 million pounds), not including what is scoured from behind Conowingo Dam and the other reservoirs in the lower Susquehanna River during storm events — now on a more regular basis because of lost trapping capacity.
It would seem the Upper Bay/Annapolis elite has been quick point fingers at the lower Bay, Eastern Shore farmers than they have been to take care of their own urban pollution problems, and the problems imported from Pennsylvania.

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