A coalition of environmental groups is asking the federal government to take over the job of regulating large-scale livestock facilities in Iowa. The groups charge state officials are failing to enforce the federal Clean Water Act by allowing the facilities to discharge manure into Iowa rivers.
Karla Raettig is legal counsel for the Environmental Integrity Project, one of the groups that’s filed the complaint. "We’ve gone to EPA and said we do not believe Iowa is issuing permits to factory farms that comply with the Clean Water Act and unless that changes, unless you — EPA — make them do something, you have to take back the program and issue these permits that meet federal law yourself," she says.
But Wayne Gieselman of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says his agency’s been waiting for the E-P-A to issue new rules. "The EPA is going to have to make more clear their expectations and their requirements as a result of some of the court cases that have gone on," Gieselman says. The EPA won’t unveil those new rules ’til 2009, according to Gieselman.