Homebuilders Sue To Block Chesapeake Bay TMDL

September 2011Newsletters In the Zone

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for violating fundamental procedural requirements and lacking a sound scientific basis, and it has asked the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to block its implementation.

According to NAHB, the TMDL could lead to onerous restrictions on new development in the bay’s watershed, which is comprised of 64,000 square miles in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

“There are irregularities in the process used in this rulemaking and in the science that underlies this rulemaking,” said Tom Ward, NAHB’s vice president for litigation and legal services.

“The EPA has exceeded its authority with certain aspects of the TMDLs in this rule,” Ward said.

“NAHB does not argue that the EPA cannot develop a TMDL,” he said. “Rather, NAHB joined this litigation after the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other groups joined the litigation in order to make sure our members are represented as the court works through the issues.”

The litigation to block the EPA’s plan was initiated by the American Farm Bureau Federation on January 10, 2011. NAHB’s complaint notes the 45-day comment period on the proposed rule was not sufficient, given the size and complexity of the rule.

Home builders have been working with the EPA for several years to identify and implement best management practices that are cost-effective and reduce sediment runoff into the bay.

“These practices are helping to reduce impacts on bay resources. The EPA should give these practices time to work before it pushes through costly new regulations,” he said.

For more information, please contact Clair E. Wischusen at 215.918.3559 or [email protected].

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