|Area designated as Mississippi Basin (USDA)|
Environmental groups released a report "faulting EPA for failing to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the 1.1 million-square-mile Mississippi River Basin," Davies writes. They said the agency "needs to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to force states to adopt numeric water quality criteria for rivers, streams and lakes."
U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey said the Clean Water Act takes a “state-driven approach” to water pollution, Davies writes. "Despite 'undisputed scientific data surrounding the serious nature of the nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in the nation's waters,' Zainey said he had to defer to EPA's approach 'to continue in its comprehensive strategy of bringing the states along without the use of federal rulemaking.'" He said, "Even if the court were to disagree with EPA's stance on rulemaking, the court cannot properly substitute its own judgment for that of the agency."
Ellen Steen, AFBF chief counsel, said they were "happy with the decision, in particular 'the court's strong language supporting the purposeful design of the Clean Water Act to leave states in the lead role when it comes to water quality improvement,'" Davies writes.