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December 2014Newsletter

EPA and Environmental Groups Withdraw from Clean Water Act Case

Agribusiness, Food & Beverage Newsletter

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and intervening environmental organizations have withdrawn their appeal in a precedent setting Clean Water Act case.  The case, Alt v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Civil Action No. 2:12-CV-42 (N.D. W. Va., Oct. 23, 2013),  applied the agricultural storm water discharge exemption to rainwater containing manure and feathers from a farmyard of a poultry operation, and validated the operation’s right to seek pre-enforcement judicial review of an EPA order.  We discussed this case and its implications in depth in a previous Agriculture, Food, and Beverage Alert. 

While the withdrawal of EPA’s appeal cements the district court’s holding for this case, it does not signal a policy shift from EPA regarding the application of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).  EPA has stated that is still disagrees with the district court decision, but has chosen to allocate its enforcement resources toward more serious polluters. 

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