Environmental Protection

West Virginia Farm Fights EPA Fines

The farm was fined for polluting local water, but a new study suggests the EPA might be wrong.

A poultry farmer in West Virginia has raised a legal case against the Environmental Protection Agency fighting $40,000-a-day fines for alleged high levels of methane from her chicken farm fouling local waters. However, the farmer is supported by a recent study by the University of Delaware.

This study shows that effects of runoff from small farms have been overestimated. In fact, according to the findings, the methane from chicken manure is 55 percent lower than previously estimated by the EPA decades ago. 

The EPA fine is based on concerns that the runoff from this farm violates the Clean Water Act. Larger farms are given a statutory exemption through the Clean Water Act for "agricultural stormwater," yet smaller farms are not.

The motion by the EPA to dismiss the lawsuit was denied by the court and a hearing will begin June 1.

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