Chesapeake Bay Regulations Debated

The struggle over environmental regulations of the Chesapeake Bay appear to be intensifying as environmental groups have mobilized support to oppose agricultural groups who seek to limit environmental regulations in the bay. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency passed new regulations limiting the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen that can be discharged into the Chesapeake Bay. The move was prompted by years of litigation by environmental groups as well as disturbing reports regarding the environmental health of the bay.

The proposed changes sparked intense resistance by agricultural groups like the Farm Bureau. In addition, politicians from agricultural states grilled EPA officials over the proposed changes, arguing that they represented an unfair imposition by federal bureaucrats. In response to these new regulations, the America Farm Bureau Federation and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau sued the EPA in an attempt to block the new regulations from taking effect.

Environmental groups have likewise gotten involved in the controversy. Groups like the American Association of Clean Water Agencies have joined the lawsuit on behalf of the EPA, hoping to protect the current regulations. Officials from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation lambasted agricultural groups opposing the EPA regulations, saying they were driven by special interests who want citizens to suffer dirty water.

A scheduling conference with the judge overseeing the case is tentatively scheduled for June 28.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer