Great news for the Bay today! The Supreme Court has decided not to hear the Clean Water Blueprint case, brought forward by the American Farm Bureau (AFB) and its allies. The AFB challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) right to enforce the Clean Water Blueprint, which sets Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs; includes limits on pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment) in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The AFB has twice appealed lower court decisions upholding the EPA’s authority to enforce the Clean Water Blueprint among Bay states and the District of Columbia.
Bay states and the District have created their own Watershed Implementation Plans, setting restoration and milestone goals within their respective boundaries. These plans will continue to be enforced, as the most recent ruling from the lower court stands. The EPA’s authority to oversee Bay restoration under the Clean Water Act has been upheld.
Many of the AFB’s partners in this case came from organizations and states outside of the Bay watershed. While this case does not immediately impact the challengers to the Clean Water Blueprint, it is believed that the EPA’s role in restoring water quality in the Chesapeake Bay could set precedent in other watersheds across the country.