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PA Farm Bureau Joins In Appeal Of Federal Chesapeake Bay Standards Decision

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation are appealing a federal district court decision that permits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to universally regulate state and local land use decisions throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed under a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

“Congress did not intend to grant EPA limitless power to dictate how private land can be used under the Clean Water Act.  In fact, Congress specifically reserved land use decisions for state and local authorities, not EPA,” said PFB President Carl T. Shaffer.  “We are appealing the court decision, because it would provide EPA with unbridled power to make decisions that could negatively impact farmers, homeowners, municipalities, school districts and businesses within the watershed.”

PFB notes that farmers are concerned about EPA’s regulatory plan, also referred to as a pollution diet, because it would make it virtually impossible for farmers to grow their business, severely limiting the opportunity of the next generation to join the family farm.

“The impact of this court case could be significant, potentially influencing the future of agriculture as Pennsylvania’s leading industry and the state’s economy, along with thousands of agriculture-related jobs.  Farmers, local governments and a wide variety of other landowners, would be subject to the whim of EPA before making even the most basic decisions about their property,” added Shaffer.

Farm Bureau adds that the appeal will not impact agriculture’s commitment to improving water quality throughout the watershed.

“Pennsylvania farmers have implemented major changes and improvements on their land to enhance water quality and protect the environment over the years, and those efforts continue to move forward.  Farmers are also working with state officials to further enhance efforts to reduce runoff from farmland,” concluded Shaffer.


Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker and Vice President for Litigation Jon Mueller issued these statements following notification that the American Farm Bureau Federation and others intend to appeal Judge Sylvia Rambo’s ruling that Bay restoration efforts are legal.

William C. Baker said: “It is disappointing, that so much effort has to be spent in the courts, versus on cleaning up the Bay and its rivers and streams. We are confident that the Bay clean-up plan will be upheld on appeal. Judge Rambo conducted a detailed examination of the record, and her 98-page opinion details that the state and federal efforts to restore local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay are entirely legal.”

Jon Mueller said: “Since losing in federal District Court the Farm Bureau has contended that Judge Rambo’s ruling gives EPA the right to stop farmers from farming. That is patently false.”


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