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State AGs Sign on to Chesapeake Bay Lawsuit Against EPA

Mark Herring
Attorney General Mark Herring is one of several state attorneys general suing the Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

*Patrick Larsen reported this story.

A group of attorneys general from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington D.C. say the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t been upholding state commitments to clean the Chesapeake Bay.

On Thursday, they sued the agency, citing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. That’s a 2014 agreement among bay states and federal agencies requiring Washington D.C. and the states that drain into the bay meet certain pollution control benchmarks by 2025.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says plans from New York and Pennsylvania, which hold major Chesapeake tributaries, don’t do enough to address pollution from their states.

“The EPA - the administrator of this agreement - must enforce the terms and hold the partners accountable,” Herring said.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is filing a separate but related suit, alongside two Virginia cattle farmers, a Maryland county and a watersports association.

Foundation president Will Baker says accepting the proposals from New York and Pennsylvania is a breach of the Clean Water Act, which gives the EPA responsibility over agreements like the Blueprint.

“EPA must impose consequences if state plans are insufficient or not implemented,” Baker said.

Baker says the plans in question won’t reach the goals set in the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint - but the EPA accepted them anyway.

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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