The American Farm Bureau and a coalition of agriculture and builder groups asked the Supreme Court Friday to review the federal government's authority to order a cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.The farmers in the midwest are waiting with bated breath to find out if the EPA can control effectively all land use in the country's bread basket, based on anoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a petition filed with the high court, the industry groups argue that the Environmental Protection Agency's "blueprint" for restoring the bay "opens the door for a dramatic expansion of federal power” and must be overturned.
Lower federal courts have twice rejected the groups' challenge of EPA's authority to order pollution reductions in the six-state bay region. But they say they're pursuing the issue because they believe it has national implications.
“It’s about whether EPA has the power to override local decisions on what land can be farmed, where homes can be built, and where schools, hospitals, roads and communities can be developed,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.The problem, of course, is that the states, listening to the anguished cries of their own citizens, have refused to impose the kind of sacrifices necessary to make the pollution reductions that EPA models predict will be necessary to "restore" the Bay (even though they're only aiming for about 50% restoration).
“This is nothing less than federal super-zoning authority," Stallman added. "As much as we all support the goal of achieving a healthy Chesapeake Bay, we have to fight this particular process for getting there.”
You will not be surprised, I presume, that other citizen groups are not in favor.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker called the groups' appeal to the Supreme Court "both predictable and sad." He said he believed the justices will uphold the lower courts' rulings and refuse to hear the case.I believe the justices should take up the case. It will be interesting to find out what Justice Kennedy thinks.