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Producer Disputes Need for Storm Water Runoff Permit

West Virginia farmer Lois Alt has been joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation and West Virginia Farm Bureau in a joint filing asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to determine that livestock farmers do not need Clean Water Act discharge permits for storm water runoff from their farms.

In 2012, Alt challenged an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) order demanding that she obtain a Clean Water Act discharge permit for ordinary storm water runoff from her farmyard or face $37,500 in fines each time the storm water came into contact with dust, feathers or small amounts of manure on the ground outside of her poultry houses as a result of normal farming operations. The court rejected efforts by the EPA to dismiss Alt’s case in April 2013.

The most recent motion, filed July 1,  asks the court to rule that EPA exceeded its authority in finding storm water from Alt’s farmyard was a Clean Water Act discharge and in ordering Alt to obtain permit coverage.

EPA is expected to file its own motion with the court defending its position, and opposing Farm Bureau and Alt’s motion on Aug. 1. Feedstuffs magazine reports that several environmental groups have intervened on behalf of EPA and will file a brief as well.

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