The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia has ruled that the American Farm Bureau Federation has a right to join in a lawsuit over the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate poultry and livestock farms under the Clean Water Act.
In July, AFBF asked for permission to join on the side of West Virginia poultry grower Lois Alt, who brought suit to challenge an EPA order demanding that she obtain a CWA discharge permit for stormwater runoff from her farmyard. The West Virginia Farm Bureau also joined the lawsuit. EPA aggressively opposed the Farm Bureau’s participation.
“The court clearly recognizes the importance of this case for thousands of other livestock and poultry farmers threatened by EPA’s unlawful restriction of the agricultural stormwater exemption,” says AFBF President Bob Stallman.
“The court flatly rejected EPA’s argument that other farmers facing similar EPA demands should be forced to file their own lawsuits. We are pleased that Farm Bureau will be allowed to challenge EPA’s actions on behalf of all our members.”
Suit Filed Against EPA In June
Alt sued EPA in June after the agency ordered her to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimi-nation System discharge permit. EPA’s order threatens Alt with $37,500 in fines for each time stormwater comes into contact with dust, feathers or dander on the ground outside of her poultry houses, or small amounts of manure that may be present in the farmyard.
According to AFBF’s intervention papers, EPA’s order to Alt represents the latest EPA attempt to regulate non-discharging farmers – this time by unlawfully narrowing the statutory exemption for “agricultural stormwater discharges.”
American Farm Bureau provided information for this article.