EPA Lawsuit Could Have Broader Impact

An ongoing lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of agricultural producers in the Chesapeake Bay may have a wide-ranging impact beyond the Mid Atlantic Seaboard, as groups like the Farm Bureau are flexing their legal and political muscle, arguing that they should be allowed to intervene in a lawsuit between the EPA and a West Virginia chicken. This case could determine the future of EPA policy.

For the past several years, the EPA has been in the midst of an ongoing effort to clean up water resources across the country. In regions ranging from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River to the Chesapeake Bay, the EPA has tightened up pollution standards, hoping to limit pollution and runoff from agricultural producers.

In the Chesapeake Bay and its subsidiary waterways, the EPA is attempting to significantly reduce sediment pollution, much of which contains nitrogen and phosphorus, which has seriously damaged the ecological health of the bay. Pollution from fertilizers can lead to algae blooms, which choke off oxygen for much of the native wildlife, creating wide-ranging dead zones.

West Virginia chicken farmer Lois Alt is suing the EPA, arguing that their discharge regulations are an example of federal overreach and are unconstitutional. Given the potential implications of the lawsuit, the Farm Bureau has argued that it should be allowed to intervene in the lawsuit, offering Alt their resources and legal expertise. The EPA, on the other hand, has argued that the case rests on the specifics of Alt’s farm, meaning that the Bureau’s intervention would be unrelated to the legal case at hand and an unwarranted distraction.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer