In a column published in Thursday’s Baltimore Sun, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman explained the rationale of a lawsuit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency by Farm Bureau that challenges the agency’s “pollution diet” for the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
In the column, Stallman emphasized that Farm Bureau is committed to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. “Despite the rhetoric of critics, the Farm Bureau’s lawsuit is not about whether to clean up the bay. Farmers remain committed to working to achieve clean water for the Chesapeake,” Stallman wrote.
“A recent draft study by the Natural Resources Conservation Service found that farmers were actively implementing erosion controls on about 96 percent of producing cropland acres in the watershed. As a result of these practices, the Conservation Service found that farmers were reducing sediment contributions to the region’s rivers and streams by 64 percent, nitrogen by 36 percent and phosphorus by 43 percent.”
Stallman said Farm Bureau will continue to work with the states and other stakeholders to adopt practical solutions for a healthy Chesapeake Bay. “Those efforts have nothing to do with this lawsuit,” Stallman wrote.
“This lawsuit is about a particular plan—officially, the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load for nutrients and sediment—that violates federal law in three ways: it violates the Clean Water Act by binding states to a federally imposed prescription and timeline; the mandatory ‘load reductions’ calculated by the EPA have no valid scientific basis and therefore violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); and the EPA did not allow adequate time for the public to respond to its highly technical proposal (also in violation of the APA).”
“This American Farm Bureau lawsuit is important to farmers and ranchers across the country including Arizona,” said Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers. “If EPA can do this in the Chesapeake watershed, it can do it in our Arizona watersheds.”