Today, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and its partners will file a complaint suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for abdicating its responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. The agency has failed to require Pennsylvania and New York to develop plans to sufficiently reduce pollution as was required by the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint, established in 2010, and re-confirmed in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement. The suit will be filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
CBF’s partners in the suit are Anne Arundel County, Maryland, the Maryland Watermen’s Association, and Robert Whitescarver and Jeanne Hoffman, who operate a livestock farm in Virginia.
Underscoring the damage this will cause for Bay restoration efforts, Attorneys General in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia will also file a separate suit in the District of Columbia Federal District Court.
“This is the moment in time for the Chesapeake Bay. If EPA fails to hold Pennsylvania, and to a lesser extent New York, accountable the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint will be yet another in a series of failures for Bay restoration,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Under the Blueprint we have seen progress. But unless pressure is brought to bear on Pennsylvania, we will never get to the finish line.”
In the past dozen years, CBF has been successful in litigation to support Bay restoration. First, to have EPA commit to the science-based pollution limits that EPA then agreed to issue with the Blueprint in 2010. And second, to help defend the Blueprint from attacks by the American Farm Bureau Federation and its allies in federal court.
Making good on threats issued months ago, three Chesapeake Bay watershed states, the District of Columbia and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation took the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to court Thursday for its failure to push Pennsylvania and New York to do more to help clean up the Bay.
In their lawsuit, the attorneys general of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia accused the EPA of shirking its responsibility under the Clean Water Act by letting Pennsylvania and New York fall short in reducing their nutrient and sediment pollution fouling the Bay.
“This has to be a collective effort,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “Every state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has to play a part, and EPA under the law has to ensure that happens.”
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, joined by the Maryland Watermen’s Association, a pair of Virginia farmers and Anne Arundel County, MD, made similar complaints in a separate federal lawsuit. Both were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where they’re likely to be consolidated into a single case.
“The courts must ensure that EPA does its job,’’ Will Baker, the Bay Foundation president, said in an online press conference held with attorneys general from Maryland, Virginia and the District.
My guess is they're trying to set the stage for a "sue and settle" lawsuit in case Biden wins.
Pennsylvania and New York have very little interest in investing in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, since they have no shoreline on the Bay. Until we find some way to incentivize them, they will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to spend money to clean the Bay. It's not like they don't have their own priorities.