Setback for CAFOs in Court Fight Over Pollution Rules

Operators of large cattle and pork feedlots in Oklahoma and other states suffered another setback this week when a Washington, D.C,. federal appeals court refused to reconsider its decision tossing out a rule exempting the producers from some pollution-reporting requirements.

The ruling by the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a petition by the pork and poultry industry to rehear the case.

The focus of the challenge is a decision to throw out the EPA’s 2008 rule that excluded all animal feeding operations from reporting hazardous air pollution releases from animal waste. The reports were part of the Superfund law, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.

The EPA also had exempted all but the large concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs from reporting emissions under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

Following the panel’s move in April to vacate the rule, the National Pork Producers Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association asked for a rehearing. They contended the court was wrong when it ruled environmental groups had standing to sue because they were deprived of information about livestock operations.