A group of Pennsylvania congressmen filed a brief in a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday in support of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's ongoing legal case against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In the brief, Pennsylvania Republicans Sen. Pat Toomey and Reps. Glenn Thompson, Scott Perry, Lou Barletta and Bill Shuster requested that the court reject new nutrient runoff standards for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed finalized by the EPA in 2010.
"If allowed to stand, the decision would allow EPA to usurp this traditional state authority over economic development and land-use management decisions, locking in source and sector-specific allocations and robbing the states of the freedom and flexibility to adopt their own plans based on new technologies, changing circumstances or economic efficiencies," the lawmakers said in the brief, echoing the argument put forth by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau in 2011 when it filed suit against the EPA.
The EPA rule caps the maximum allowable pollutants - nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment - discharged into the watershed's bodies of water each day. The lawmakers said the EPA violated the Clean Water Act, which limits the EPA's authority to force states to implement nutrient-runoff standards.
According to the American Farm Bureau, the EPA's standards will cost taxpayers and farmers billions of dollars before the full implementation of the standards occurs in 2025.
"Despite the successes of regional and state-led conservation efforts, which have substantially reduced agriculture's ecological footprint within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the EPA has continued a quixotic pursuit to put forth oppressive mandates that threaten the economic livelihood of our local farms and businesses," Thompson said. "This overreach attempts to bypass elected officials in Congress and the will of the American people, and it cannot and will not be tolerated."
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