EPA Chesapeake clean-up plan held by appeals court

July 13, 2015

In what some farmers are calling a power grab, a U.S. appeals court just approved the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to limit pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay is the United States' largest estuary, and supports a broad range of commercial endeavors, including bustling fishing, farming and tourism industries. The EPA's plan seeks to severely cut down the debris and pollutant run-off that's been allowed to flow into the Bay. This run-off has led to what environmentalists call "dead zones," large areas of opaque water filled with algae blooms that strangle out other aquatic life.

Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro acknowledged the difficulty it will take to enact the plan, writing that "The Chesapeake Bay (plan) will require sacrifice by many, but that is a consequence of the tremendous effort it will take to restore health to the Bay — to make it once again a part of our 'land of living,' a goal our elected representatives have repeatedly endorsed."

Organizations of farmers, builders, and producers of fertilizer have fought the EPA tooth and nail on their proposal, arguing that the authority to regulate waterways should lie with the states. Less openly stated in their arguments is the fact that these groups have profited from the lack of regulations, and that they stand to lose money if they're required to prevent runoff.

Because of how rapidly they can change, staying on top of and following EPA regulations can be difficult and time consuming. Hiring environmental consultants will help you better understand the latest trends and regulations, as well as find quick and cost effective ways to adjust your business to meet them.