The headline on the news story flashing across the nation Thursday said it all: “Virginia Stands with Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan.”
Thursday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced he had filed a “friend of the court” legal brief to protect Virginia’s efforts – and those of the other Bay states and the federal government – to work together to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.
One would think that Virginia and its Bay partners could work cooperatively with each other to clean up their waterways without interference from outsiders. After all, they’ve been doing just that for 31 years in one of the most comprehensive, sophisticated estuarine restoration efforts in the world.
But 21 other states, some as far away as Alaska, have filed their own legal arguments in support of the American Farm Bureau Federation and other national farm lobby groups suing to halt the Bay cleanup effort. The Big Farm lobbyists and the 21 states argue that the cooperative cleanup plan, the Bay Clean Water Blueprint, represents an unconstitutional federal overreach, infringes on state authority, and threatens other parts of the nation that “could be next.”
But as Attorney General Herring (above right, with Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Senior Attorney Peggy Sanner) said in announcing the Virginia defense, “When the most promising plan to protect and restore the Bay comes under attack, I am going to stand up for the health of Virginia's families, for Virginia's economic interests, for Virginia's efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay. This case is simply about whether Virginia and the other Bay states have the authority to work cooperatively to manage and restore the Bay, as they have done for decades.”