U.S. agriculture groups' efforts to block federal and state limits designed to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay through tighter regulations on agricultural runoff and wastewater treatment were rejected by a federal judge in Harrisburg, Penn. U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo on September 13 ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was within its authority to set and enforce standards to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that drain from rivers into the bay.
The American Farm Bureau Federation initially filed the suit in 2011, claiming the EPA overstepped its bounds and created an unfair process by using standards that were flawed and unlawfully complicated, the Associated Press reported. Other groups, including the National Chicken Council, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, the National Turkey Federation, the Fertilizer Institute, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Corn Growers Association, joined in the suit.
The EPA and six states - Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia - and Washington, D.C., in 2007 agreed to establish a pollution-reduction program by May 1, 2011, and to reach the targeted limits by 2025. The agreement did not violate the Clean Water Act, Rambo ruled, because the EPA and the states all agreed to it and states were given the flexibility to decide how to meet the limits.