For more than a year, American Agriculturist has reported on the rising tide of environmental vindictiveness and fiscal disconnect that permeates the mentality of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency leaders. No agricultural group has had the audacity to challenge EPA's overreaching authority – until this week.
American Farm Bureau Federation and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in federal court in Harrisburg, Pa. The lawsuit charges that EPA exceeded its authority to implement a Total Maximum Daily Load in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
AFBF and PFB also assert that the science used by EPA to create the model used to develop the TMDL plan is flawed. That claim has been confirmed by agencies responsible for gathering the basic data.
They also are challenging EPA's authority in deciding how states are to improve water quality under the Clean Water Act. And, they contend the agency has not taken into account the economic and social impacts on businesses and communities in the states.
“Aside from overreaching its authority, EPA failed to account for many best management practices that significantly reduce runoff into Pennsylvania streams and the Chesapeake Bay," said PFB President Carl Shaffer. "By ignoring the real amount of no-till farming and cover crops used by Pennsylvania farmers, EPA’s model underestimates the on-the-ground action taken by farmers and overestimates the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment coming from farms.”
Ag and environmental organizations across the country are closely watching this situation. If EPA wins, it portends of much more restrictive mandates to states from the federal agency.
Despite the commonwealth's proposed aggressive education and enforcement program, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and PennFuture leaders contend it's not enough. Obviously, fiscal accountability to taxpayers isn't important to these environmental groups.
Think I'm over-board? Well, consider that CBF wants Pennsylvania to fund the REAP tax credit program and the conservation districts at $10 million each, along with other program enhancements
Hello, this is the real world calling. Is anybody home in the cranium department?
Now, the big question is whether other state and national groups will rally in support of Farm Bureau's bold move.
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