EPA announced May 11, 2010, that it will settle a Chesapeake Bay Foundation lawsuit, filed in January 2010, over the agency’s alleged failure to use its regulatory powers to restore Chesapeake Bay. Fowler v. EPA, No. 09-5 (D.D.C. settlement announced 05/11/10). The settlement requires EPA to take actions to reduce stormwater runoff into the bay, including (i) reviewing all proposed construction general permits drafted by bay states to ensure that they meet current federal stormwater standards; (ii) issuing guidance by July 31 for municipal stormwater permits in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; (iii) issuing final regulations for stormwater discharges in the watershed by November 19; (iv) proposing new regulations to control stormwater runoff from agriculture in 2012; and (v) finalizing those regulations in 2014.
The settlement also allows the foundation to intervene if EPA fails to ensure that the states (i) provide “reasonable assurances” that proposed pollution reduction activities specified in their watershed improvement plans (WIPs) will work; (ii) face significant consequences for failing to develop or implement WIPs, including potential denial of all EPA permits sought for new sewage treatment plants or major new developments; and (iii) offset all new nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment levels and reflect that in their WIPs.
The agreement requires EPA to establish total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for the bay and its tributaries in the 64,000-square-mile watershed that includes six states and Washington, D.C. The settlement is subject to public comment and court approval. See EPA Press Release, May 11, 2010