AG Gansler Urges Federal Appeals Court to Uphold EPA's Status as Maryland's Partner in Cleaning and Protecting the Chesapeake Bay
Delaware and D.C. join amicus curiae brief, arguing to preserve the EPA's Total Maximum Daily Load for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment
Baltimore, MD (April 28, 2014) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has taken the lead in filing an amicus curiae or "friend of the court" brief urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to uphold a lower court ruling and preserve the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with Maryland and other states in ongoing efforts to restore and protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Delaware and Washington, D.C., have joined Maryland in this effort. Virginia filed a similar brief a few weeks ago.
"This lawsuit attacks our efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and strengthen its crucial economic value to Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region," says Attorney General Gansler. "Maryland must preserve its partnership with an effective EPA to safeguard our environment and sustain the thousands of jobs supported by the Bay through recreation, commerce and culture."
In the lawsuit, American Farm Bureau Federation, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the plaintiffs are seeking to terminate or restrict the EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act to impose a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment that is flowing into Bay waters.
From Attorney General Gansler's amicus curiae brief:
"The Bay is the economic engine of the mid-Atlantic, providing in excess of $1 trillion annually in recreational, ecological, strategic, historic, and cultural amenities. It is a "national treasure..."
But the Bay is in trouble. Discharges of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment throughout its watershed have impaired water quality in the Chesapeake Bay to the point that it does not meet water quality standards. Id. The decrease in water quality threatens everything the Bay offers, whether it be seafood harvests, recreational opportunities, or environmental sustainability.
Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia are three of the seven states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, all of which worked closely with the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to establish the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Sediment (the "Bay TMDL"). Like their partners in the other Bay States, the Amici states are committed to implementing the Bay TMDL. The Bay TMDL is an essential tool in the Bay States' ongoing efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay."