Why did Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt file a brief this month opposing an agreement to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, which is a thousand miles from Kansas? Because agriculture interests are worried that the Environmental Protection Agency will next want to clean up the Mississippi River basin. “The issue is whether EPA can reach beyond the plain language of the Clean Water Act and micromanage how states meet federal water-quality standards,” Schmidt wrote in the brief on behalf of Kansas and 20 other states, mostly in the Midwest and South. A federal District Court ruled last fall that the EPA didn’t exceed its authority. The ruling also noted that the cleanup plan was developed with the participation of all states in the watershed over a period of years. Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, doesn’t appreciate the intervention by Schmidt and others. “Don’t tell us how to restore clean water in our backyard,” he said.
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