Settlement Requires EPA to Rein in Chesapeake Bay Pollution Caused by Animal Agriculture

Posted on April 25, 2023


(Bethesda, MD – Apr. 25, 2023) Sustainable Earth Eating applauds a settlement announced by the D.C. Attorney General that will further curtail pollution of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S., largely caused by animal agriculture. 

According to D.C. Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb, a proposed settlement was reached on April 20th in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to ensure that Pennsylvania reduce its contribution of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including the Potomac River.

In 1983, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the EPA signed the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, a multistate effort to clean up the Bay, that required each state to develop and implement individual plans. A recent EPA analysis found that Pennsylvania’s plan would only meet 75% of its pollution reduction target and as a result excessive pollution continued flowing from Pennsylvania’s waterways, particularly in heavily concentrated agricultural areas.

Animal agriculture uses 80% of arable land, but produces 20% of food needed

“In addition to polluting the Bay with fertilizers, animal waste and sediment, animal agriculture takes up 80% of global arable land, but only produces 20% of food needed—it’s incredibly inefficient and unsustainable,” said Jane DeMarines, Executive Director of Sustainable Earth Eating.

Meat Production produces twice the pollution of plant food production

Meat production accounts for 57% of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 29% for plant-based food production. DeMarines advocates for simple steps to improve individual health and the health of the planet including reducing meat consumption for one day each a week.

As a result of the lawsuit, the EPA will now abide by requirements to ensure that Pennsylvania implements a pollution minimization plan that achieves and maintains the environmental goals of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement. The EPA will now be closely monitoring farms not currently required to have federal permits that have proximity to rivers and streams to see if there is significant damage to water quality.

“This is a positive step to hold polluters accountable for preserving our cherished Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said DeMarines.


About Sustainable Earth Eating 

Sustainable Earth Eating engages in outreach, advocacy, and educational initiatives to provide accurate information on the outsized contribution of animal agriculture to climate change. SEE provides multiple resources to the public, journalists and supporters, including a monthly newsletter, a weekly climate infographic, online cooking shows with plant-based recipes, vegan events and celebrity Vegan interviews. Additional resources are available at

Categories: Press Release