WASHINGTON — The American Farm Bureau Federation took action
earlier this month to appeal a recent court decision that upheld the
Environmental Protection Agency’s “pollution diet” for the 64,000-square-mile
Chesapeake Bay watershed.
AFBF filed a notice to appeal the Sept. 13 federal district
court ruling, seeking reversal of a decision that gives EPA wide latitude to
dictate local land-use and development decisions.
“This is a wrongly decided case that has dangerous
implications for farmers and many others in the Chesapeake Bay area and
nationwide,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.
“This case isn’t about whether or not to protect the
Chesapeake Bay — we all share that goal. This case is about whether EPA can
dictate where farming will be allowed, where homes can be built and where
businesses can be established. By taking over decisions like that, EPA has
turned the whole concept of cooperative federalism out the barn door.”
AFBF seeks an appeal to preserve the primary role of states
in setting land use policy and determining how to achieve water quality goals.
According to AFBF, the Clean Water Act puts states in the driver’s seat to
determine how farmers, builders, homeowners and towns will share the
responsibility of achieving clean water. EPA’s framework puts EPA in control of
“Win or lose on appeal, farmers and ranchers will continue
their dedicated efforts on the farm to improve water quality and the natural
environment,” Stallman said. “In the meantime, AFBF will continue to oppose what
we see as a remarkable power grab.”