Lawmakers Urge Court to Block Chesapeake Cleanup - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lawmakers Urge Court to Block Chesapeake Cleanup

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)
WASHINGTON (AP) - A group of 39 lawmakers is urging a federal court to block the Obama administration's plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, describing it as an unjustified power grab.

The filing in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia puts the lawmakers alongside 21 attorneys general who already oppose the cleanup, a case testing the Environmental Protection Agency's authority under the Clean Water Act. The filing was submitted late last week.

Republican Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and David Vitter of Louisiana, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, signed onto the opposition brief, as well as Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary and Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.

Also signing the brief were four House members from Pennsylvania - Reps. Bill Shuster, Lou Barletta, Scott Perry and Glenn Thompson.

The filing comes after the court's deadline for submitting legal papers in the case. But the lawmakers argue they have a special interest in weighing in, saying the EPA went too far in negotiating a 2010 agreement that sets pollution limits in the nation's largest estuary.

Lawmakers "have a clear interest in ensuring that Congress's supreme legislative and policymaking role is not usurped by unelected executive branch agencies," they wrote. "If allowed to stand, the decision ... would allow EPA to usurp the traditional state authority over economic development and land-use management decisions."

At issue is a federal-led effort to restore the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake watershed by 2025. In 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order for a bay restoration after decades of state inaction, prompting the EPA to seek agreements with six states and the District of Columbia that set standards to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that drain from rivers into the bay.

The multistate agreement was challenged in 2011 by the American Farm Bureau Federation, which pointed to economic consequences for industry groups.

A recent study by environmentalists found states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have made strides in reducing pollution but in many cases fell short in implementing practices that cut contaminants from agriculture. Farm runoff such as animal waste and fertilizer has created "dead zones" in the bay where nothing lives, taking a toll on the bay's signature blue crab.

Among the states that agreed to the Chesapeake plan, West Virginia is now opposing the cleanup. Pennsylvania and New York are staying silent in the litigation, while Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia signed briefs in support.

William C. Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said states have made clear they will abide by the cleanup. "The Bay states have already spoken on behalf of clean water, as have over 50 state and local governments, environmental groups, and lawyers who filed timely briefs in support of Bay restoration," he said.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Delaware State Auditor Does Not Seek Re-election

    Delaware State Auditor Does Not Seek Re-election

    Feb 17, 2018 11:41 PM2018-02-18 04:41:00 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 11:41 PM EST2018-02-18 04:41:58 GMT
    DOVER, De.- Delaware state auditor, Tom Wagner, has announced he will not seek re-election this year. Wagner was appointed to the position in 1989 and was elected to his seventh term in 2014. He’s one of two Republicans elected to statewide office. More
    DOVER, De.- Delaware state auditor, Tom Wagner, has announced he will not seek re-election this year. Wagner was appointed to the position in 1989 and was elected to his seventh term in 2014. He’s one of two Republicans elected to statewide office. More
  • Traffic Stop Leads to Police Pursuit; Weapons and Drugs Seized

    Traffic Stop Leads to Police Pursuit; Weapons and Drugs Seized

    Feb 17, 2018 3:27 PM2018-02-17 20:27:00 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 3:32 PM EST2018-02-17 20:32:23 GMT
    Courtesy of the Georgetown Police Department Courtesy of the Georgetown Police Department
    The Georgetown Police Department said they arrested a Brooklyn, NY, man early Friday morning after he lead them on a pursuit and had various drugs and guns in his car.More
    The Georgetown Police Department said they arrested a Brooklyn, NY, man early Friday morning after he lead them on a pursuit and had various drugs and guns in his car. More
  • Police Investigating Pocomoke American Legion Shooting

    Police Investigating Pocomoke American Legion Shooting

    Feb 18, 2018 3:03 PM2018-02-18 20:03:00 GMT
    Sunday, February 18 2018 3:03 PM EST2018-02-18 20:03:08 GMT
    Pocomoke Police are investigating a shooting that happened at the American Legion early Sunday morning.More
    Pocomoke Police are investigating a shooting that happened at the American Legion early Sunday morning. More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices