The American Farm Bureau Federation has taken action to appeal the September court decision that upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s pollution diet for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Farm Bureau filed a notice to appeal the federal district court ruling – seeking reversal of the decision that gives EPA wide latitude to dictate local land-use and development decisions. Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says this is a wrongly decided case that has dangerous implications for farmers and many others in the Chesapeake Bay area and nationwide. He says the case isn’t about whether or not to protect the Chesapeake Bay – but whether EPA can dictate where farming will be allowed, where homes can be built and where businesses can be established. By taking over decisions like that – Stallman says EPA has turned the whole concept of cooperative federalism out the barn door. Farm Bureau hopes to preserve the primary role of states in setting land use policy and determining how to achieve water quality goals. Win or lose on appeal – Stallman says farmers and ranchers will continue their dedicated efforts on the farm to improve water quality and the natural environment. In the meantime – he says Farm Bureau will continue to oppose what it sees as a remarkable power grab.
National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre released the following statement after filing a notice to appeal the ruling: “NCGA feels it is in the best interest of farmers to appeal the district court’s decision which upheld the TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay. Our organization understands and supports the need to protect water quality but we don’t support a wrongfully decided case when it has a profoundly negative impact on agricultural production and innovation. We continue to believe the policies and science behind Chesapeake Bay TMDL are wrong and that it goes beyond the scope of Clean Water Act authority. We hope the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will reconsider these arguments and ultimately provide state and local jurisdiction more flexibility to work with agriculture in meeting water quality goals.”