Monday, July 6, 2015

Third Circuit Upholds Chesapeake Bay TMDL

On July 6, the Third Circuit (Ambro, Scirica, Roth) issued a decision in American Farm Bureau Federation v. EPA.  The American Farm Bureau, other agricultural interests, and the National Association of Home Builders sued EPA to challenge EPA’s promulgation, pursuant to the Clean Water Act, of Total Maximum Daily Load requirements for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  The plaintiffs argued that the Clean Water Act allows EPA only to regulate the total amount of a pollutant that can be discharged into a particular segment of water, and that EPA exceeded its authority by including additional requirements that specified how Chesapeake Bay TMDLs should be allocated among types of sources, set target dates for reducing discharges, and obtained assurances from states that they would effectuate the TMDLs.  The district court held in favor of EPA, and on appeal the Third Circuit affirmed.  The court of appeals held that EPA has considerable discretion in deciding how to implement the Clean Water Act’s broad mandate to establish TMDLs, and that EPA’s actions with respect to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL were reasonable and complemented the purpose of the Clean Water Act’s TMDL mandate. 

—Todd Aagaard

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/environmental_law/2015/07/third-circuit-upholds-chesapeake-bay-tmdl.html

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