WV Farm Bureau seeks to intervene in EPA lawsuit - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

WV Farm Bureau seeks to intervene in EPA lawsuit

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The West Virginia Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit regarding EPA's authority to regulate poultry and livestock farms under the Clean Water Act.

According to a July 23 news release from the West Virginia Farm Bureau, the intervention was filed on the side of West Virginia poultry grower Lois Alt, the operator of Eight is Enough Farm in the Hardy County community of Old Fields.

Alt sued EPA in June after the agency ordered her to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System discharge permit. The EPA's order threatens Alt with $37,500 in daily fines for storm water that may come into contact with dust, feathers or dander deposited on the ground outside of poultry house ventilation fans, or small amounts of manure that may be present in the farmyard as a result of normal poultry farming operations.

The EPA also seeks separate fines if Alt fails to apply for an NPDES permit for the alleged "discharge" of storm water from her farmyard, according to the news release.

The Farm Bureau and Farm Bureau Federation filed the intervention seeking relief on behalf of the farming and agricultural communities they represent, because " any decision would have wide-ranging impacts … as virtually all poultry-broiler farmers in West Virginia and throughout the nation engage in normal farming practices similar to those employed by Mrs. Alt, and could become subject to such permitting requirements and liability for penalties."

The American Farm Bureau Federation said it has intervened in two prior court cases relating to EPA regulations. The AFBF said those regulations illegally attempted to impose broad NPDES permit requirements for thousands of livestock and poultry farmers whose operations have no regulated discharge.

The news release said Alt's poultry operation has been recognized by Pilgrim's Pride as an Environmental Stewardship Award winner for commitment to environmental practices.

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