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EPA ruling on Bay disappoints PFB; ‘enormous power’ seen

CAMP HILL, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) is disappointed with a federal district court decision that upholds the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to implement a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

“We disagree with the court decision that gives EPA the power to make local land use decisions on every parcel of land in the watershed,” said PFB President Carl T. Shaffer. “Congress did not intend for the agency to have limitless power to dictate how private land can or cannot be used. The judge erred in finding that EPA can do whatever it wants, because Congress specifically reserved land use decisions for state and local authorities.”

Farm Bureau notes that the court decision provides enormous power to EPA to make decisions that will affect farmers, homeowners, school districts, municipalities and others regardless of the regulation’s wisdom or accuracy of science.

“Pennsylvania farmers have already implemented major changes and improvements on their land to enhance water quality entering the bay, and those efforts will continue in the future. We are also working with state officials to further enhance efforts to reduce runoff from farmland,” added Shaffer.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and numerous other groups brought the lawsuit against the EPA. Farm Bureau continues to analyze the court’s opinion.