Lawsuit filed to end CAFO emissions reporting exemption

Environmental and animal welfare groups challenge Bush administration EPA decision

A coalition of environmental and animal welfare groups challenged an Environmental Protection Agency decision made during the Bush administration that exempt concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from disclosing emission data on ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.

Members of the coalition – the Center for Food Safety, Environmental Integrity Project, the Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance – filed lawsuit, today.

The environmental groups first challenged the decision shortly after it was first created in late 2008 just prior to the Obama administration coming into office, arguing it violated two federal right-to-know laws. 

In the original litigation –filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia-, Obama’s EPA asked to leave the rule in effect and send it back to the agency, promising to make a quick fix.

The coalition claims the EPA never revised the exemption and therefore Earthjustice on behalf of the coalition filed the suit. The group is asking the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia to re-open the case and order the EPA to make a final decision in regards to the exemption.

In response, the EPA has agreed to “review and respond to the lawsuit”.  If the agency decides to keep the exemption then it will be left up to the Court to rule whether the EPA can lawfully exempt an entire industry from laws meant to protect public health.

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