Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Small victory over EPA

From page A4 | November 13, 2013 | 5 Comments

Late last month a U.S. District Court in West Virginia ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency strong-arm tactics against a chicken farmer.

The case, as reported in the California Farm Bureau’s Ag Alert has “implications for livestock producers in California and nationwide.”

The court ruled that ordinary stormwater from Lois Alt’s West Virginia poultry farm is exempt from the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit requirements.

Lois Alt has an eight-house chicken farm with ventilation system and a covered litter storage shed, a compost shed and feed storage bins. “Some particles of manure and spilled feathers have escaped the chicken houses. And, on occasion during rainstorms, runoff has flowed across a neighboring grassy pasture and into Mudlick Run,” which the EPA designated a “water of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

The EPA in June 2012 threatened her with $37,500 in fines each time stormwater made contact with dust and small bits of feathers and manure. You can bet it rains on a regular basis during the summer in West Virginia in addition to the winter.

And for failing to get an NPDES permit, the EPA called for additional fines of $37,500 each day Lois Alt failed to apply for a permit.

“This lawsuit was about the EPA’s tactics of threatening farmers with enormous fines in order to make them get permits that are not required by law,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman. The American Farm Bureau and the West Virginia Farm Bureau intervened in her case.

The EPA tried to say that the agricultural stormwater exemption didn’t apply to “concentrated animal feeding operations.”

California Farm Bureau associate counsel Kari Fisher said, “It also affirms that incidental litter or manure are related to raising poultry and therefore are related to agriculture.”

It is just another example of a federal agency with too big a budget, too many people on staff, all of whom have a bias toward throwing their weight around, trying to squash as much business as possible. If the EPA had succeeded, this country would face a chicken, hog and cattle shortage. It would face abandoned farms throughout the country.

In the Northeast farms have been abandoned for economic reasons. That is a natural shift, not one forced by the government. It is a process that has been going on in that region since the 1920s as forests reclaim farmland and suburban forests recover from disease. From Pennsylvania to Maine, hardwood and softwood forests are covering more and more area.

The EPA under President Obama has been a hindrance to the economic well-being of this country, interfering with farming operations and trying to muscle state regulators aside as oil drillers fracture oil shale rock 10,000 feet below the surface.

The West Virginia chicken farm case is a small, but important victory against an EPA gone wild.

Mountain Democrat


Discussion | 5 comments

  • cookie65November 13, 2013 - 5:45 am

    I have been posting stuff about this for a while now. The epa under the clean water act is becoming the Frankenstein monster the communists always intended it to be. The essential problem that most Americans don't recognize is the epa does not answer to the people. It answers to no one. It is the opposite of representative government. It is an unconstitutional tyrannical illegal branch of government. Their existence and self-proclaimed authority shows why it makes little difference who is in charge in DC, the federal government continues to expand and devour liberty and freedom. Just like obama, their fundamental belief is that individuals have no right to own private property. I bet most of you lemmings didn't know that about the messiah.

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  • rodNovember 13, 2013 - 9:40 am

    "EPA has failed to keep a balance between consequences to our rights, and consequences to our environment, in fact they are harming both. Today’s EPA (lead agency), Dept of the Interior, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Calif Dept of Fish & Wildlife, biased judges and new and ever-growing lists of alphabet agencies are increasingly denying access and use of our land and waterways. Some of the tools for denying use of our public lands, waterways and private property for indefinite periods of time are: 1)Non-government organizations (NGOs): A plethora of environmental organizations (special interest) and their taxpayer compensated staff of attorneys forcing direction of government by legislation with their constant stream of lawsuits, 2) Government agencies using regulation: Enforcing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) requirement as their primary tool. Then we have: the Equal Access to Justice Act; the Clean Water and Air Acts; the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and now the Wilderness Act." (from 'Enviroligion, vehicle for Assault on America')

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  • MartinNovember 13, 2013 - 9:32 pm

    AMEN Rod you are so on target, we have got to stop these radical obomacrates from destroying our nation, they put miners out to pasture, lumbermen and commercial fishermen out to pasture and now they are trying to take the pasture away. I am telling you that this nation is on its way down the tubes, in fact it is just about at the bottom if we don’t win back the house and senate and get us another Reagan we are in trouble.

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  • rodNovember 14, 2013 - 8:42 am

    Martin, correcto. We ain’t seen nothing yet, hopefully obamascare halts this next power grab in its tracks. November 12, 2013 - 5:53 pm WASHINGTON — While the country is immersed in Obamacare headlines and a congressional tussle over delays and mandates, the Obama administration is stealthily moving toward unprecedented control over private property under a massive expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act authority. The Clean Water Act redefinition of “waters of the United States” would include all ponds, lakes, wetlands and natural or manmade streams that have any effect on downstream navigable waters — whether on public lands or private property. The administration is trying to move forward with the rule at a breakneck pace, relying on the findings of a scientific report that hadn’t undergone peer review at the time the rule was submitted to the White House for approval. “The EPA’s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S. This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever,” Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said after seeing the proposal. “If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds and streams.” “The Obama administration’s latest power play to regulate America’s waterways is an unprecedented effort to control the use of private property,” Smith added, promising to question McCarthy this week about her agency’s “ever-expanding regulatory agenda.” The EPA has made no secret of wanting to balloon its jurisdiction over all waters, even testing the limits by going after businesses that could potentially taint any type of water on its way to a body of water. A federal court recently threw out the EPA’s attempt to force a poultry farmer in West Virginia to obtain a costly Clean Water Act permit, determining that storm waters flowed across the farmer’s property and eventually wound up in “waters of the United States.” For this, the farmer was threatened with possible imprisonment and fines of up to $37,500 per day as the EPA maintained she was responsible for any feathers or manure bits making their way to a waterway. The United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia noted that “common sense and plain English lead to the inescapable conclusion” that runoff from storm water doesn’t fall within the guidelines of needing a permit under the Clean Water Act, a decision that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the EPA needed to accept and extend to all of its enforcement operations. “It’s clear that EPA had no business subjecting this poultry farmer to a bureaucratic maze of federal regulation. This is just another attempt from EPA to expand its regulatory powers,” Vitter said last week. “Following the court decision, I hope EPA will reconsider its CWA enforcement priorities and nationally implement the decision’s analysis of the CWA so that farmers and other land owners are not further confused or otherwise harassed by the agency.” by Bridget Johnson

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  • EvelynMarch 15, 2014 - 9:43 am

    Wyoming welder faces $75,000 a day in EPA fines for building pond on his property - HERE

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