It was announced last week that three Iowa groups, the Environmental Integrity Project; Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI); and the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, have notified the U.S. Environment Protection Agency that they are going to sue the EPA.
This all started when the three groups filed a petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 regarding the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) regulation of livestock producers. The three groups claim the EPA should regulate Iowa livestock instead of the state DNR. Since the groups filed the 2007 petition, the EPA has taken no action to revoke Iowa's authority or to regulate in Iowa. Last week the groups served the EPA with a notice of intent to sue.
"These three groups will try to increase livestock regulations beyond those currently in place. We at the Iowa Corn Growers Association will keep our members updated if and when the lawsuit is filed or if other actions take place regarding EPA involvement in Iowa regulations," says Mindy Larsen Poldberg, ICGA's governmental affairs director.
Activist groups say they want the EPA to bring Iowa into compliance
The activist groups have on August 18 issued a press release saying they have begun legal action they hope will strip the Iowa DNR of its power to enforce federal water quality rules. The national nonprofit Environmental Integrity Group joined the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement in filing a notice of intent to sue the U.S. EPA.
Representatives of the three groups say they want the EPA to bring Iowa into compliance with federal regulations to clean up the state's lakes and streams. The groups first filed a petition with the EPA in 2007, seeking to remove the state DNR's authority to handle wastewater discharge permits. The groups said they filed the initial effort to keep the matter out of court. But the federal EPA hasn't acted on the petition.
Groups claim Iowa has failed to meet federal Clean Water Act requirements
The three organizations claim Iowa has failed to meet requirements of the federal Clean Water Act, including full regulation of livestock confinements. EPA officials had no comment last week regarding the three groups filing of the petition of intent to sue the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Iowa DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins said state law in Iowa already prohibits livestock waste discharges into Iowa waterways, and instituting a permitting process for wastewater discharges from livestock facilities would be redundant. He also says a court ruling has cast parts of EPA's clean water regulations into doubt. The Iowa DNR is banned from having requirements that are stricter than federal law, so the DNR has waited for the EPA to clarify the federal Clean Water Act requirements, says Baskins.