Supreme Court allows 3rd Circuit decision on Chesapeake Bay pollution plan to stand

By Stephen Davies

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 29, 2016 - The Supreme Court has decided not to review a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals opinion upholding an EPA plan to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The court, without comment, included its decision in its order list this morning, after discussing the petition on Friday.

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It was one of the court's first major decisions following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

The American Farm Bureau Federation was the lead plaintiff in challenging the so-called Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). AFBF filed a petition with the Supreme Court along with the National Association of Home Builders, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, The Fertilizer Institute and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.

Twenty-two states and 92 members of Congress, almost all Republicans, filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the petition. The federal government, joined by environmental groups, opposed it.

Both the Farm Bureau and the National Corn Growers Association issued statements expressing disappointment with the decision. "We will closely monitor the agency's actions in connection with the Bay blueprint, as well as any efforts to impose similar mandates in other areas," said AFBF President Zippy DuVall. "This lawsuit has ended, but the larger battle over the scope of EPA's power is not over."

 

And NCGA said that the decision not to review the lower court ruling "has national implications related to the power and reach of the federal government." The TMDL, the group said, "is an unlawful overreach of federal regulatory power." 

 
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