WASHINGTON – A federal court declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a Virginia poultry grower against the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported.

Lois Alt challenged an EPA order to obtain a Clean Water Act discharge permit for storm water runoff from her farm. EPA withdrew the order, but the US District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia ruled the case should go forward to clarify whether discharge permits are required for "ordinary precipitation runoff from a typical farmyard."

“EPA seems to have believed if it withdrew the order against Ms. Alt, the court would dismiss her lawsuit,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF president. “The tactic failed because the court recognized EPA wasn’t changing its underlying legal position, but just trying to avoid having to defend that position.”

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.