Activist groups sue EPA over CAFO rule

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Environmental and animal-rights groups want to force the EPA to collect detailed information on confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and intend to take the issue to court.

EPA logo The issue stems from a proposed rule EPA published in October 2011, which would have required CAFOs to submit extensive information to the EPA. During a public comment period, according to EPA, state regulatory agencies questioned the need for a federal law, as states already collect the information in question. In July 2012, EPA withdrew the proposed rule. In its withdrawal document, the agency states: “Instead, the EPA, where appropriate, will collect CAFO information using existing sources of information including state National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) programs, other regulations and other programs at the federal, state and local level. The EPA believes at this time, it is more appropriate to obtain CAFO information by working with federal, state and local partners instead of requiring CAFO information to be submitted pursuant to a rule.”

Anti-CAFO activist groups, however, disagree. This week, the Center for Food Safety, Environmental Integrity Project, Food & Water Watch, The Humane Society of the United States, and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed the suit in the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that the Agency’s withdrawal of the proposed rule lacks the rational basis required by law.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS said: “The animal agriculture industry has benefited from EPA’s lack of information for decades, and has successfully opposed efforts to increase transparency. This certainly is not good for animals, humans or the environment; it is only good for massive industrialized farms.” 

The EPA’s statement withdrawing the rule notes that EPA initially issued effluent guidelines and standards for feedlots in 1974, NPDES CAFO regulations in 1976 and revised NPDES permitting regulations in 2008.

Earlier this year, EPA came under harsh criticism from agricultural groups after information on 80,000 livestock operations to activist groups Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council in response to their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The information EPA released incoluded private material, including names, home addresses, personal telephone numbers and employee records, and EPA did not inform the ag community of the disclosure until after the fact.

The American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against the EPA, and in July, the agency announced it would hold off on responding to any future FOIA requests for the same information until the legal issues are resolved by a court.

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Colo  |  August, 29, 2013 at 09:36 AM

Ahh, the target du juor. This is just the latest in efforts by the activists. CAFO's are already regulated to tears by state, local, AND federal regulations, but that doesn't matter since it does nothing to address their end game which is to put producers out of business. And raise money

tony newbill    
powell butte ore  |  August, 29, 2013 at 11:01 AM

I am surprised Drovers did cite this article on WHY we see the Fascism in the USA going on ??? !!! EPA's Secret And Costly 'Sue And Settle' Collusion With Environmental Organizations Maybe its because they don't want to be seen as a Extremist ???

August, 29, 2013 at 03:39 PM


kansas  |  August, 30, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Surprised the HSUS didn't choke on this one... "The HSUS said: “The animal agriculture industry has benefited from EPA’s lack of information for decades, and has successfully opposed efforts to increase transparency." "Transparency" talk from a group of professional liars who've been forced, several times, to withdraw or correct False statements in their Fundraising programs that intentionally deceive donors regarding their activities providing animal care. They've also falsified Endorsements and listed names of celebrities as donors who never participated. Their very Name is a calculated deception playing on an actual animal care provider that has suffered financially from having funds they could use for actual animals, into the pockets of HSUS "activists", i.e., lobbyists & lawyers. Transparency to them is like sunlight to vampires. It would be nice to see this mentioned by OUR representatives, whenever they comment on this case of legal harrasssment in public - loudly and repeatedly.

SD  |  August, 30, 2013 at 01:36 PM

EPA logically should publish the home addresses, income, and all sources of income of leaders and staff of HSUS, PETA and other groups harrassing farmers who grow animals for food. After all, what is fair for one should be considered 'fair' for all.

Stan Casteel    
Missouri  |  December, 24, 2013 at 06:31 AM

Always entertaining to watch the animal rights profit centers led by lawyers and devotees raking in money attacking the bread and butter of the nation, agriculture. I should assemble a manuscript outlining how the CAFO has been necessary to support the HAFOs. What is a HAFO? Human Animal Feeding Operations, aka cities. CAFOs are necessary to feed the masses stacked on top of each other in cities, where most of these nut jobs and charlatans live.

December, 27, 2013 at 07:24 PM

Also, I can't believe they publish before checking for spelling. Included is spelled included.


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