WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Members of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation are working to protect Pennsylvania farmers by fighting back against another regulatory overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and U.S. Representatives Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-Pa.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) have filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia, in support of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's ongoing legal effort to stop the EPA from seizing for the federal government powers traditionally held by the states regarding nutrient-runoff standards.
In the brief, Sen. Toomey and Reps. Thompson, Perry, Barletta, and Shuster request that the court reject an EPA rule which would establish a new mandate for nutrient-runoff standards and allow for a federal takeover of laws governing waters in states that make-up the Chesapeake Bay watershed if all EPA goals are not adopted and met.
Sen. Toomey and Reps. Thompson, Perry, Barletta, and Shuster contend that what the EPA is proposing is a clear violation of the "Clean Water Act" which limits the EPA's ability to dictate how and when states chose to implement nutrient-runoff standards. The American Farm Bureau estimates that the EPA's nutrient-runoff standards will cost taxpayers and farmers billions by the time full implementation occurs in 2025.
"This is yet another clear example of the EPA trampling state law and imposing costly mandate on Pennsylvania farmers," said Sen. Toomey. "Pennsylvania farmers and lawmakers have a terrific partnership that has played a huge part in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay over the past 30 years. In fact, since 1985, Pennsylvania has reduced its reduced nitrogen pollution levels by more than 13 million pounds per year. Clearly, current efforts by states and farmers are working and I urge the court to stop this ridiculous power grab by the EPA."
"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. This overreach attempts to bypass elected officials in Congress and the will of the American people, and it cannot and will not be tolerated," Rep. Thompson said.
"We can find common sense ways to protect our environment and waterways without unnecessarily expanding the reach of the federal government and putting unreasonable and costly regulations on our businesses, farmers, and families," said Rep. Perry.
"The last thing that our hard working farmers need is more interference from the unelected bureaucrats at the EPA," Rep. Barletta said. "It was the clear intent of Congress to allow states the freedom to regulate their own waters, and these constant power grabs to centralize all authority within the federal government must stop."
"Once again the EPA's overreach clearly intrudes into the lives of Pennsylvanians attempting to place excessive burdens on Commonwealth farmers. Just like their recently proposed Waters of the US regulation, this Administration's attempt to regulate every ditch and puddle with unworkable mandates will negatively impact our nation's farmers and our economy with no environmental benefit. I continue to stand beside my fellow Pennsylvanian colleagues to firmly oppose this unprecedented increase of EPA authority," said Rep. Shuster.