Early this week, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau leaders expressed extreme dissatisfaction with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's professed partner role in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. In practice, the agency is acting more like a "tough guy", suggested John Bell, attorney for the state Farm Bureau organization.
In its public statements, U.S. EPA emphasizes its role as a partner in cleaning up the bay. But in practice, it plays a far different role, said Bell. Actions still speak louder than words.
Farm Bureau President Carl Shaffer contended, for instance, that EPA failed to factor in widespread use of no-till into its Chesapeake Bay clean-up model for Pennsylvania. The Obama administration agency also favors Senator Benjamin Cardin's Chesapeake Bay cleanup legislation which encourages "private action" lawsuits by pro-bono a law firm against individuals, noted the Mifflinville, Pa., farmer. "No individual farmer can afford a defense in such event. Cardin's legislation would be economically devastating for dairy farmers," he maintained.
Such a suit is already in federal court in Maryland. New York-based Waterkeepers Alliance has launched legal action against Alan and Kristin Hudson and Perdue Farms, Inc., for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act in Worcester County, Md. And, Waterkeepers Alliance is in another legal battle to gain release of information and names of farmers having nutrient management plans.
On the other hand, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has been a partner, noted Bell. But he added, the state agency has met with a lot of resistance from EPA.