Cumberland Times-News

Local News

December 7, 2012

Groups back EPA, try to join Hardy farmer’s lawsuit

Chicken grower challenging water pollution rules aimed at cleaning up Chesapeake

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Several environmental groups want a federal judge to let them join a lawsuit by a West Virginia chicken grower who is challenging new water-pollution rules aimed at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey has already allowed the American and West Virginia Farm Bureaus to intervene in Lois Alt’s complaint against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She wants the court to stop the EPA from imposing new permitting rules on her Eight is Enough farm in Hardy County, arguing the agency is overstepping its legal authority.

The farm bureaus argue the outcome of the case has implications for poultry farmers nationwide, and an EPA victory could require them to seek discharge permits that they don’t all currently need.

Now Potomac Riverkeeper, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Waterkeeper Alliance, Center for Food Safety and Food & Water Watch want to join. They said Friday they support the EPA’s goal of cleaning up the watershed and say Alt’s farm should not be exempt from the Clean Water Act.

Concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, are major pollution sources that discharge nitrogen, phosphorus and fecal bacteria into waterways the public has a right to enjoy, they argue. Those pollutants can make waterways unsafe for swimming and trigger algae blooms that choke off oxygen, endangering fish and other aquatic creatures.

“We cannot afford to have our delicate and valuable waterways become dumping grounds for factory farms,” said Angie Rosser, director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition.

The complaint filed Thursday says farms and other agricultural facilities are the biggest source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay, “resulting in the slow death of a water body that was historically one of the most productive and biologically diverse estuaries in North America.”

Alt sued the EPA in June, acknowledging that there is waste-tainted runoff from her farm. But she argues it’s agricultural storm water, not “process wastewater” that would be subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.

She wants the court to set aside the EPA’s order, which could result in fines of up to $37,500 a day if she’s found in violation of what she calls an arbitrary, capricious and illegal action.

Last fall, the EPA determined that dust, feathers and fine particles of dander and manure from Alt’s poultry house ventilation fans could land on the ground, come into contact with storm water and flow into ditches, eventually reaching Chesapeake Bay tributaries.

The EPA is focused on protecting the watershed, which encompasses parts of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, and all of the District of Columbia.

“This case should not be used as a tool to create new exemptions from established and vital environmental laws,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “Factory farms cannot be allowed to use the Potomac — or any waterway — as a private sewer.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

Facebook
Must Read
News related video
Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Obama, Biden Announce $600M for Job Grants Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Boston Officials: No Bags at Marathon Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing