Several environmental groups filed a motion in federal court in May seeking to intervene on the side of the EPA in a lawsuit filed earlier this year by agricultural groups that want to block the agency from implementing its new Bay cleanup plan.

The groups include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation, Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future and several others that contend that the EPA's actions were overdue under the Clean Water Act, and based on sound science.

The EPA's plan, the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, was finalized in December and established the maximum amount of pollution that can reach the Bay from each tributary. It required states to write plans showing how they would reach those goals.

Many farm organizations fear that the plan will result in more restrictions on their activities. Agriculture is the largest single source of nutrients and sediment reaching the Bay.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau filed their challenge in January, and several other agricultural organizations have since joined the suit.