In our winter 2011 member magazine, Save
the Bay first reported to CBF members that
just days after the Blueprint was inked, the
American Farm Bureau Federation and the
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau filed suit in federal district court, seeking to throw out the
Blueprint. The plaintiffs made three complaints: that EPA overstepped its authorities
in establishing pollution limits and allocating them to the Bay states, that the science
on which the pollution limits were based
was faulty, and that the plaintiffs did not
have adequate time to participate in the
process of developing the pollution limits.
Not long after the case was filed, seven
national lobbying groups joined the plaintiffs (see box at right).
CBF petitioned to “intervene” in the case
along with other interested parties. Our petition granted, we filed our brief and, in October
of 2012, made our oral arguments before
Judge Sylvia Rambo. And then, we waited.
Eleven months later, Judge Rambo issued
her ruling—a resounding, 98-page affirmation that the Blueprint stands on firm legal
ground. It was a solid denial of each of the
plaintiff’s three complaints. The opinion
Cooperative federalism refers the protocol by which states and federal government
Opposing Bay Restoration
work together, in this case, to protect the environment and human health. The feder-
al government has oversight and sets the basis for environmental/health standards.
The states can do more, but not less, to meet those standards.
American Farm Bureau Federation
National Association of Home Builders
National Corn Growers Association
National Pork Producers Council
National Turkey Federation
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
The Fertilizer Institute
21 STATES AGAINST A CLEAN CHESAPEAKE
even complimented the “cooperative federalism” that characterized the process by which
the states and EPA worked together to develop and implement the Blueprint.
At the time, we were ecstatic. More importantly, the jurisdictions were assured that the
Blueprint-related actions and investments
they had already made and were planning to
make were appropriate.
Expanding the Opposition
The Farm Bureau group was not pleased
with Judge Rambo’s clear ruling. With the
exception of the National Chicken Council,
all of the original litigants appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.