• A Matter of First Impression: Under the Clean Water Act, What does “Total” Mean?
  • September 2, 2015 | Author: Ryan C. McKim
  • Law Firm: Morris Polich & Purdy LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • In American Farm Bureau Federation v. EPA, 792 F.3d 281 (2015), a number of trade groups for the agricultural and home building industries (collectively “Plaintiffs”) challenged whether, under the Clean Water Act, the total maximum daily load (“TMDL”) for the Chesapeake Bay could include more than a quantity of a pollutant. The TMDL at issue “(1) included...allocations of permissible levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment among different kinds of sources of these pollutants, (2) promulgated target dates for reducing discharges to the level the TMDL envisions, and (3) obtained assurance from the seven affected states that they would fulfill the TMDL’s objectives.” Id. After analyzing the TMDL through the deferential lens of Chevron v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837 (1984), the Third Circuit concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) TMDL properly included requirements other than numeric quantities of pollutants.