DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental and animal welfare groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging that it unlawfully scrapped a rule authorizing it to collect information from large-scale livestock confinement farms.
The EPA dropped the rule in July 2012, saying it would get farm locations, waste management practices and number of animals on the properties from state and federal agencies.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington alleges the EPA lacks the rational basis required by law to withdraw the rule. It also says the information is critical to enforcing federal clean water laws.
By 2003, about 20,000 U.S. concentrated animal feeding operations housed chickens, hogs or cattle, often thousands at a time. Animal waste caught in pits below is often used as fertilizer. They’re found in such major livestock-producing states as Texas.