DEC challenging EPA’s authority over Chesapeake cleanup plan

The Department of Environmental Conservation is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to force New York and other headwater states to participate in its plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

New York has been at odds for months with the EPA regarding a draft, called the Total Maximum Daily Load plan that would require headwater states to adopt the TMDL, a “pollution diet” that places strict nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment output limits on each state. The requirements, which the DEC estimates would cost the state between $3 billion and $6 billion, must be met by 2025 in an effort to clean up the long-polluted estuary.

Goodyear lake Otsego County

The Susquehanna and Chemung river basins are part of the Chesapeake watershed.

Tensions grew hotter when the DEC and a coalition of displeased Southern Tier farmers, conservation districts, industries and treatment facilities submitted comments on the EPA’s plan, challenging the federal agency’s legal authority to include New York.

In its TMDL, the EPA points to language in the federal Clean Water Act that it says gives the agency regulatory authority to force New York, Pennsylvania, and other states to participate in the plan. The DEC disagrees.

In a 46-page document submitted earlier this month to the EPA, the DEC wrote this is the first time the federal agency has required a state to contribute to a plan such as the TMDL for a body of water outside of the state’s jurisdiction and does not follow a precedent set by the agency’s plan to clean up the Long Island Sound.

The DEC document challenges the EPA’s interpretation of the law, and asks for further clarification and a full explanation of how the (Clean Water Act) provides it with the authority to act. The, EPA cannot expect New York and its municipalities to spend billions of dollars in the midst of the current economic climate to implement the stringent measures required under the draft TMDL without a full understanding of the agency’s authority to require such expenditures.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to force New York and other headwater states to participate in its plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

An ad-hoc committee called the Southern Tier Chesapeake Bay Coalition called the EPA’s draft plan “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”

EPA officials reaffirmed their stance that the agency has proper legal authority to include New York, claiming they have sufficient authority to do what we need to do in the watershed. An EPA representative stated, “It’s a matter of if you’re causing or contributing to an impairment of downstream waters, the Clean Water Act requires that you be part of the solution. We have clear authority.”

Critics of the plan say the TMDL could have a harmful economic impact on farmers, who would be forced to improve their agricultural runoff levels, as well as require major upgrades to sewage treatment facilities, including the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant.

Each of the Bay’s watershed states must submit their own plan by Monday on how they plan to meet the EPA’s pollution limits. Based on those plans, the EPA will decide what level of costly federal “backstop” measures to impose on states, which could require retrofitting of sewage systems and other upgrades.

A draft of New York’s plan was deemed by the EPA to have “serious deficiencies.”

Kellie M. Place “The Land Expert”

“Upstate New York’s Real Estate Development Expert”

About Kellie M. Place Century 21 Upstate NY

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson UPSTATE NY'S REAL ESTATE & LAND EXPERT "MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR TOP PRODUCER" Specializing in LAND, RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, MULTI-FAMILY/INVESTMENT PROPERTIES AND NATURAL GAS LAND ACQUISITIONS. VOTED "BEST of the BEST" REALTOR IN PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS! WINNER OF THE QUALITY SERVICE AWARD! HOT POINTS: Upstate NY's Real Estate Development Expert * 30 Yrs of Development/Planning Experience * Multi-Million Dollar Top Producer * 30 Yr /Chairperson of Oneonta Planning Commission * Leading Agent with Proven Results * Knowledge of Upstate NY Communities * Aggressive Marketing with International Exposure * Member Otsego County Chamber of Commerce * Proudly serving Otsego, Delaware, Chenango, Madison, Schohari and Broome Counties. My name is Kellie Place and I am a Multi-Million Dollar TOP Producer with CENTURY 21. I serve as the Chairperson of the Oneonta Planning Commission of which I have been a member for over 30 years. Having worked with developers and engineers on both sides gives me an edge above other agents in all types of real estate. Co-Founder and Director of Administration of the internationally renowned New York Summer Music Festival at Oneonta State College. Chairperson of the Mayor's Arts & Events Task Force. Executive Board Member of the Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Co-founder and Executive Director of the Calcio Soccer Club and a member of the Broome County Soccer Association. I have coached youth soccer and hockey for over 20 years. I was the recipient of the "Volunteer of the Year" Award at the National Soccer Hall of Fame Co-Founder of the grassroots organization, Oneonta Community Alliance for Youth. Serve on the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Business Action Committee as well as active in local, county and state politics. In short, an active community member that has...... "Served the Community for over 30 years!"
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