Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Virginia have filed briefs in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a lawsuit first filed in 2011 by the American Farm Bureau Federation and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The lawsuit, to be decided in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, challenges EPA’s jurisdiction in establishing the 2010 Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load (TMDL).

Currently, four of seven bay jurisdictions that voluntarily agreed to the TMDL are defending the plan in court. New York and Pennsylvania, two other bay states, have not offered an official position. However, West Virginia is now opposing the cleanup along with 20 other states not involved in the TMDL.

According to the plaintiffs, the bay TMDL could lead to similar efforts in the Mississippi River Basin, spanning 31 states. However, EPA has said it has no current plans to establish pollutant limits in this basin. The court expects to hear oral arguments this summer and will rule afterward. Read more about the history of this case.