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A Victory for the Bay: Federal Judge Upholds EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan

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U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia Rambo ruled on Friday, September 27 that a multi-party initiative to improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay—with tighter regulations on construction along waterways, agricultural runoff, and wastewater treatment—was allowable under the Clean Water Act.

 

In a 99-page decision, Rambo rejected claims by farm industry groups—including the Fertilizer Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Chicken Council, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, and the National Turkey Federation—that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had created an unfair process and used standards that were flawed or unlawfully complicated.

 

Rambo instead found that the agreement did not violate the Clean Water Act because the EPA and the states involved all agreed to its conditions and were given flexibility in deciding how to meet its requirements.

 

The EPA welcomed the ruling, calling it “a victory for the 17 million people in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”

 

Federal and state attempts to help heal the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary, span a period of more than three decades with the founding of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement in 1983 between the EPA and Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Today, Delaware, New York, and West Virginia are all also party to the EPA agreement upheld by Rambo.

 

Check out the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's website to find out how you can help restore the Bay.