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Last updated 7:37PM ET
March 6, 2021
Ruling Protects Farms From Air Pollution Lawsuits
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Farms can't be sued over the pollution or odors they emit as long as they have entered into an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. That ruling came yesterday from a federal appeals court in Washington D-C.

The court in its two-to-one ruling says the E-P-A was exercising a valid use of the agency's enforcement discretion by entering into agreements with the farms.

The ruling is a rebuke to environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, which sued to change an E-P-A policy they say allows animal feeding operations to skirt environmental laws and only pay nominal fines.

The petitioners maintained that animal feeding operations pollute the air, emit terrible odors and attract hordes of flies that leave droppings on everything from cars to furniture.

They argued that the E-P-A did not follow proper rule-making procedures in crafting an agreements to allow farms to avoid legal punishment and lawsuits for violating air emissions requirements.

The agreements requires the farms to pay a civil penalty and give the government permission to monitor the facility for an E-P-A study of emissions.

Nearly 26-hundred animal feeding operations, the majority of them hog farms, have entered into agreement with the E-P-A.

Researchers from eight universities this summer began a 30-month study of the emissions of animal feeding operations at 24 sites in nine states.

When the study is complete, the E-P-A is expected to draft air emissions standards for such operations.

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