After losing a decision on the EPAs Pollution Diet limits, the American Farm Bureau plans to take its case to the Supreme Court. The AFBF is joined by the National Association of Homebuilders in the effort to overturn two lower court decisions. The AFBF and the Homebuilders originally sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency in federal district court in 2010—that case was lost, as was an appeal to the Third Circuit Court.
This case is important to Northampton County, especially relative to proposed zoning changes. At the same time, citizens of Northampton are working with the DEQ on a revised Total Maximum Daily Limit of nutrients going into Nassawadox Creek due to it being deemed unsuitable for recreation and shellfish due to high levels of coliform and excessive nutrient loading in the watershed.
The worry of the Farm Bureau is that it is perceived that the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint gives the EPA too much of a role in determining land use and specific water quality goal setting. The Blueprint requires that the six Bay states and the District of Columbia follow specific plans to meet EPA-enforced nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution limits.
The argument is that this will affect and limit economic activity, and will set a precedent for the EPA to control pollution limits for each farm, home site or acre of undeveloped land across the region.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation argues that without the Blueprint and EPA, it will “undermine efforts of six states and the District of Columbia to finally restore this national treasure (the Chesapeake Bay).”
According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation “We and our members have repeatedly encouraged the Farm Bureau and the Homebuilders to put their energy and money into working with us to reduce agricultural and runoff pollution, the largest sources of pollution degrading the Bay,” the group said. “We believe working together to reduce pollution is a far more productive approach than re-arguing points that have been resolved.”