CBF Fights for Citizens’ Rights
to Protect the Bay
With Jon Mueller
On September 19, 2011, a hearing was
held in the state circuit court on the
merits of our challenge—TriCity improperly
described the extent of the wetlands impacted by the proposed development. A decision
is expected by the end of this year.
Legal standing gives a party the right to make a legal claim or participate in a suit. To have
standing in a court, a plaintiff must show both sufficient connection to the case and the presence or risk of harm.
Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Farm Bureau vs. Bay Pollution Limits
Q. In December 2010, after 15 years of
insufficient governmental actions and a
handful of lawsuits, EPA issued science-based pollution limits, also known as a Total
Maximum Daily Load or TMDL, for the
Chesapeake Bay. Less than two weeks later,
the American Farm Bureau Federation and
the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau filed a complaint in federal court to stop the limits
from being implemented. These groups
were eventually joined by six other
agribusiness trade associations and the
National Association of Home Builders.
CBF asked to intervene on the side of pollution reduction. Will we be able to participate in this suit?
ed the right to intervene in the case. CBF
and its allies will now be allowed to file a
brief in support of the TMDL [Bay pollution limits]. CBF is handling this matter
with assistance from counsel for the
Defenders of Wildlife, Southern Environmental Law Center.
Q. In 2001, an individual property owner
operating as DCW Dutchship Island tore
down a pre-existing cottage and built a
large home, swimming pool, and lighthouse on Little Island in the Magothy River,
without having the proper building permits, variances, or buffer map amendment
as required by law. The entire island is
within the sensitive state critical area. CBF
has fought to uphold the law and protect
the environment. During every stage of the
appeals, CBF’s standing to dispute the decisions to issue the permits has been challenged by the builder and the county itself.
Q. In 2003, CBF and others challenged a
state permit issued to TriCity Properties to
destroy 181 acres of protected, nontidal
wetlands in Chesapeake, Virginia, near the
Stumpy Lake Nature Preserve. Has any
progress been made with this case?
A. Good news: On October 13, 2011,
CBF, along with Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, Defenders of Wildlife, Jefferson County Public Service District, Mid-shore Riverkeeper Conservancy, and the
National Wildlife Federation, were grant-
A. Unfortunately, CBF’s standing has been
challenged three different times by the
state’s Attorney General. Despite a Virginia
appeals court ruling in this case that CBF
has the right to sue on behalf of its members, the state has continued to ask the circuit court to dismiss CBF.
A. CBF’s appeal is currently before the
Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals. The
appeals court is questioning whether there
was a conflict between state law and county
law on citizen rights to appear before local
administrative boards. A written opinion is
expected within the next several months.
Before joining CBF in 2004,
Vice President for Litigation
Jon Mueller worked for the
U.S. Department of Justice