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PFB Restates Position in Lawsuit Against EPA
510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001, (717) 761-2740
Mark O’Neill, Media Relations Director
(717) 761-2740 or E-mail
For Immediate Release: May 25, 2011
PA Farm Bureau Restates Position in Lawsuit Against EPA
(Camp Hill) – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) affirmed today that a lawsuit filed by the American Farm Bureau Federation and PFB against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is focused on challenging the federal agency’s authority to impose mandates on states and is not an attempt to stop Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts.
“Several environmental organizations have unfairly attempted to falsely characterize this lawsuit as a means of trying to escape responsible environmental management. Farmers are not alone with their concerns, as many local officials and businesses support our efforts to challenge EPA’s excessive use of authority,” said PFB President Carl T. Shaffer.
Farm Bureau emphasized that these environmental groups greatly downplay many positive actions taken by farmers over the years. “For decades, farmers have been implementing numerous on-the-ground practices to address water quality concerns in Pennsylvania creeks, streams and rivers that lead into the Bay. Conservation and environmental improvement practices will continue to be implemented on farms across the Commonwealth regardless of the length or outcome of the lawsuit,” added Shaffer.
Farm Bureau initiated the lawsuit because EPA exceeded its authority under the Clean Water Act by trying to dictate its will upon Pennsylvania and other states in the bay watershed on specific activities each state will be required to perform; EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) computer models are seriously flawed because they make wrong assumptions and use bad science and incomplete data in their projections; and EPA violated the Administrative Procedures Act by failing to provide sufficient information or adequate time for the public to provide comments or check the math behind EPA’s TMDL.
“Farm Bureau did not make the decision to enter the lawsuit lightly, but we had no choice, because it was the only alternative left to challenging EPA for its overreach of authority to impose measures on farmers, businesses and communities to meet the agency’s watershed goals,” continued Shaffer.
Farm Bureau notes that a recent report conducted by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) revealed a much brighter picture about farm conservation practices compared to EPA’s model. Specifically, the report revealed that 96% of farmers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have implemented erosion control practices on cropland acres in production. The report also found that sediment contributions from cultivated cropland to the Bay's rivers and streams have been reduced by 64%, while phosphorus was reduced by 43% and nitrogen reduced by 36% between 2003-2006. In addition, NRCS says that pollution has been further reduced by another 15% to 20% over the past five years.
“Pennsylvania farmers have greatly reduced soil erosion, preserved and restored wetlands, and cleaned the air and water by voluntarily implementing numerous and costly conservation projects,” concluded Shaffer.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 50,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.
PaOneStop, an online software tool which allows farmers to map their operations and assists with compliance on nutrient management regulations.