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US Court of Appeals Affirms TMDL Watershed Approach

US Court of Appeals Affirms TMDL Watershed Approach

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its ruling in American Farm Bureau Federation v. U.S. EPA on Monday, July 06, 2015.  As expected, the Third Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court’s September 13, 2013 decision and again upheld EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load (“TMDL”) for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  This appeal had been brought by the American Farm Bureau Federation, other agricultural trade associations, and the National Association of Home Builders representing nonpoint source (“NPS”) interests in altering the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) TMDL Program.  The ruling affirming the District Court once again (1) preserves the TMDL “watershed approach” under which non-point sources of pollution share responsibility with point sources for contributing to required clean water efforts under the CWA’s TMDL Program; and (2) protects the point source nutrient allocations at risk in the event of the loss of this watershed approach and of adequate NPS participation.   

Chris Pomeroy of AquaLaw contributed to this article.

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