Chesapeake Bay TMDL Wins in Court
Five years of court battles are over. Today, a leap day that will never be forgotten in watershed restoration, the Chesapeake Bay, with over 10,000 streams and all its inhabitants won in the Chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied deep pocketed lobbyists that live outside the Bay watershed to interfere with the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL. The ruling of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals stands.
The pollution limits outlined in the TMDL, known as the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, cannot be challenged again in court. We can know stop wasting time and resources defending the TMDL in court and put these resources to work on the land for a restored Bay. It’s the law of the land.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other friends of clean water stood by the EPA during the whole, five year process which started soon after the EPA accepted each Bay state’s plan to reach their respective pollution limits. Read CBF’s press release here.
This Leap Day Help Us Celebrate the Bay’s Victory in Court
Today is LEAP day and the day the Bay won in court. CBF is trying to raise $10,000 in one day to continue the journey for a restored Bay. Help us celebrate this victory by donating today here.
The court battles started when the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Fertilizer Institue, the American Home Builders Association and other groups with polluting interests sued the EPA for three reasons: overstepping their bounds, using flawed science and not giving enough time for people to comment. All three reasons were struck down by Judge Silvia Rambo in the U.S. General District Court in Philidelphia.
The polluters appealed and lost in the U.S. Third District Court of Appeals.
SCOTUS refused to see the case which means the the lower court ruling stands.
Wonderful news Bobby! So very glad to hear it!!!! Nice to hear positive news for the environment. Have you also heard that the monarch population numbers in the overwintering sites in Mexico (reported Feb. 26th) have risen to 4 hectares this year. Still significant to do, but this is a nice increase.
Thanks Marie for your kind words and for posting on the blog. Great news about the Monarchs!
Very cool! Congratulations to all those dedicated folks on the ground and in political settings throughout the CB watershed working to this end.
Thanks Steve, this was more than huge.
This may be the first case where the absence of Justice Scalia made a difference. A split court of 4 to 4 makes the lower court order stand, so why bother with a hearing if you know the outcome of the court? It is indeed good news, but highlights the need to have justices empathetic with environmental concerns. No calves at my place yet, but we have some cows mighty close. We will start keeping a closer eye on thing. March 15 is the “first” due date.
Wayne, the absense of Justice Scalia was definitely in our favor and you are right. We have three calves now, 121 to go. Thanks for reading the post and commenting.
You’re a river warrior, Bobby. Thank you for
Michael, thanks…if I’m a river warrior you are a anti-pipeline warrior.
Great news and a great victory for the Bay!
Incredible news… Nice to win one, especially after General Assembly Proffer nonsense, VA. Surpreme
Court’s awful ruling on Conservation easements,
Even though what we all do feels a lot like Sisyphus pushing his rock uphill…
Today one giant boulder made it over the crest….
Thanks George! We’ve been pushing this rock uphill for over 30 years…as you well know.
Thanks for the news Bobby. It seems so hard sometimes for us to unify as a country in the preservation of something so much more permanent in appearance than ourselves, yet so easy to unconsciously destroy. Small steps every day will get us there.
Thanks for stopping in Ryan and for your comment.
Bobby – Great news! I’ll be sharing this post with my class tomorrow!
Mikaela, thanks so much for stopping in and for sharing with your class. This is indeed a watershed moment.
It’s always a true breath of fresh air when our environment is held up as a priority over the interests of corporate lobbyists. Praises to all involved. Go Bobby, go!
Brian, thank you so much for your comment and for stopping in. It’s great that we have reconnected after all these years.
I have no problem setting TMDL’s. The question is: Are they reasonable and achievable? In the past and at other watersheds in the US, the levels were thought to be too low and perhaps not even achievable even if the watershed reverted back to nature. I am not privy to what level the TMDL’s have been set in the Chesapeake Bay, nor would it matter as I would have to defer to some water quality experts on what is reasonable. Just conveying a word of caution about what you wish for. We will have legacy phosphorus entering the Bay for quite some time from ag. lands where poultry litter was spread. If no more phosphorus was applied to those fields today and for the next 20 or 30 years, we may not still have all the phosphorus removed through crop uptake at the end of that time frame.
Jim, thanks for your comment and for stopping in. You make some very good points. I think we have to implement something called Phosphorus extraction. Bring me a soil sample to determine baseline soil P then bring me one a couple years later with a lower soil P and get your incentive payment. We’ve been working on restoring the Bay for over 30 years and have never met a single goal/agreement.
Ah, Bobby, yes this was such great news! I attended some of the TMDL meetings on testing the North River, so I know a little about the on-the-ground effort developing these guidelines required. It is a great joy to know the uncertainty and expense of the court battle is OVER! (Can it really be over? No way to change or appeal or back up?) Anne
Anne, so nice of you to comment. Thank you. It is over. The lower court ruling stands. We cannot be taken to court again for those three items they took us to court over: using flawed science, overstepping the bounds of EPA and not enough time to comment. I think they could sue over something else but, the court has spoken. The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint or the tmdl used sound science, EPA did not overstep their bounds and there was ample time to comment…like 30 years! Always good to hear from you.