Green groups sue EPA over factory farm pollution rules

REUTERS/Nathan Frandino

A group of 13 environmental organizations has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking to force the agency to bolster regulations for industrialized livestock farms, which can pollute U.S. rivers and lakes with raw sewage and other contaminants.

In a petition filed Friday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Food & Water Watch, the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups challenged the EPA’s decision last month not to draft stricter regulations to control that waste.

Current regulations require factory farms, where a large number of animals are kept in relatively small spaces, to apply for permits allowing them to discharge waste into waterways only if they admit they plan on polluting, according to the groups. The EPA allows the self-reporting even though the agency itself estimated in 2003 that the facilities generate three times as much raw sewage as the entire human population in the U.S, they said.

The waste can leach into the ground or be swept off the property by rain, contaminating drinking water and causing algae blooms and large-scale fish deaths.

The groups want the court to issue an order telling the EPA to consider the stricter rules they suggested in a 2017 petition for rulemaking. 09-11-23

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