The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other environmental groups have urged a Pennsylvania federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the federal government's plan for reducing pollution fouling the estuary.

The lawsuit filed in 2011 by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau contends that the Environmental Protection Agency did not have the authority to issue the pollution limits, that the public was not granted sufficient opportunity to review and comment, and that the limits are based upon flawed computer modeling and input data.  Other agricultural and building industry groups later joined the suit.

In a motion for summary judgment filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, the bay foundation  and its partners counter that the EPA has clear legal authority to order a cleanup of the Chesapeake, that the pollution limits it set are scientifically based, and that the agency gave ample opportunities for the public to review and comment on the plan.

The environmental groups noted in particular that a group of bay scientists had upheld the computer models used by EPA to set pollution limits.

“The Fertilizer Institute, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers, the National Association of Homebuilders, and other national organizations are seeking to maximize the economic interests of a few at the expense of all whose health and economic survival depends on the water quality of local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “Their arguments, however, are sorely lacking in both legal and factual basis. We have asked the court to dismiss the suit and uphold the last and best chance to restore this national treasure.”