WASHINGTON – The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) recently filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of a West Virginia poultry grower.
Lois Alt launched a legal challenge to the EPA’s authority to regulate poultry and other livestock farms under the Clean Water Act. Alt filed the suit after the EPA found she had violated the Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants from her poultry farm, which the agency deemed a concentrated animal feeding operation. EPA ordered Alt to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in November 2011. She is the owner of Eight is Enough poultry grow-out operation in Old Fields, WV., under contract with Pilgrim’s Pride, according to EPA documents.
AFBF said Alt is facing $37,500 in daily fines for storm water coming into contact with dust, feathers and manure deposited on the ground outside of poultry house ventilation fans. Alt also faces civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with the EPA’s order.
“Lois Alt runs an exemplary operation and has even won awards for the environmental stewardship she practices on her farm,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF president. “Her efforts to defend herself and her family farm against an illegal EPA order are commendable.”
In its request to intervene on Alt’s behalf, AFBF states that EPA’s order to comply is an attempt to regulate non-discharging farmers by narrowing the statutory exemption for “agricultural storm water discharges” and that Alt’s farm, as a CAFO, does not qualify for the exemption.
“EPA basically claims that Lois Alt’s family farm isn’t agricultural and rainwater from her farmyard isn’t agricultural storm water, just because she houses more than a certain number of chickens,” Stallman said. “AFBF has asked to join this lawsuit on behalf of the thousands of other livestock and poultry farmers threatened by EPA’s extreme and unlawful restriction of the agricultural storm water exemption.”