This is a landmark case for clean water!
Judge Sylvia Rambo Rules
On Friday, September 13, Judge Rambo ruled in favor of a restored Chesapeake Bay. Here’s the link to an article from the Associated Press.
This is wonderful news for all of us working for a restored Bay and for all grassroots organizations across the country trying to improve water quality. Is this a landmark case? I think so.
The background on this case can be found in the post I wrote on December 21, 2012 titled, “Polluters Sue EPA For Doing Their Job”.
Great news! Cheers to Judge Rambo!
Thanks for passing on the wonderful news, Bobby. I have just read the Summer 2013 “Save the Bay” magazine, a special issue on The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. It is superb and worth reading cover to cover. I have a copy if anyone wants it. Carol Taylor
The Farm Bureau, chief plaintiff in the suit to overturn EPA/ state pollution guidelines, reacts to Judge Rambo’s decision,
“We are disappointed for all farmers of all sizes, whether they grow food for local restaurants and markets or for national stores,” spokeswoman Tracy Taylor Grondine said.
As much as one regrets Ms. Grondine’s disappointment, she would probably prefer that to
living on(and getting her domestic water from) the Middle River downstream of a cattle farm whose cattle cool in the river. She may be disappointed for “all farmers” but not all farmers share her disappointment.
Bravo Michael, well stated!
I am curious where Congressman Goodlatte stood on this suit when the suit was filed last October. I do not remember.
Joe, I have no idea. I think he is silent on the issue the same as he is on fraking the GW.
Joe and Bobby —
I can’t say whether Goodlatte ever said anything in particular about the lawsuit, but he sure has said lots of critical stuff about the Bay TMDL.
And, pretty sure he got an amendment through the House that would have banned EPA from spending any money on helping implement the TMDL.
Also, I seem to recall him saying, in a op ed piece and an email to constituents, stuff that left the strong impression that EPA was going be regulating regular farming operations (as opposed to just CAFOs) — which just isn’t true, because EPA doesn’t have such authority under the CWA. Only a change in the Act would provide EPA with such authority–in the Bay watershed or anywhere else.
Thanks for providing the link to the AP article. I’ve only looked at the first couple paragraphs so far, but already see some really unfortunate wording, which lends credence to the Farm Bureau argument that EPA will be coming into farmers pastures and corn fields to force stream fencing and adoption of BMPs.
“federal and state pollution limits designed to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay by more tightly regulating wastewater treatment, construction along waterways and agricultural runoff.”
” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was within its authority to work with six states and Washington, D.C., to set and enforce standards to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that drain from rivers into the bay…”
As you correctly say, TMDLs are just “blue prints”. (Some refer to them as “pollution budgets”. TMDLs are NOT self-enforcing. With regard to point sources, like sewage treatment plants, the wasteload allocations (WLAs) assigned to them are indirectly enforceable, through the NPDES permit program. But, there is no parallel permit program, or other regulatory authority, in federal law dealing with nonpoint sources, such as sheet runoff from farming operations. So, if government body were going to force farmers to adopt BMPs, it would have to be state or local–and neither Virginia nor any of the local jurisdictions have created such regulatory programs.
Well, I’m just preaching to the choir. BUT, I am worried about the impression this AP article will leave with less informed members of the public.
I did a search on the Leader website last week for “Chesapeake Bay TMDL”, but didn’t find anything. Was there something? What about other papers in the area, did they run the AP piece, or something else?
If so, wonder if someone should write a letter to the editor or an op-ed piece aimed at making the limits of EPA’s power clear.