Alfalfa, CAFO litigation makes headlines

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Alfalfa, CAFO litigation makes headlines

Date: 
Mon, 03/21/2011

After completing the most comprehensive study on a genetically engineered (GE) crop in the nation’s history, the organic community is still not satisfied with USDA’s recent decision to make Roundup Ready alfalfa available to the nation’s alfalfa growers. So dissatisfied with the decision, a coalition led by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice filed a new lawsuit against the USDA. Members of the organic farming community now argue that USDA data shows 93 percent of all alfalfa planted by American farmers is grown without the use of any herbicides. With the full deregulation of GE alfalfa, organic supporters argue that up to 23 million more pounds of herbicides will be released into the environment each year.

This is the second such lawsuit challenging the legality of USDA’s handling of GE alfalfa. The previous case dates back to 2007. In that case, a federal court ruled that USDA’s approval of the GE alfalfa violated environmental laws by failing to analyze risks such as contamination of conventional and organic alfalfa, glyphosate-resistant weeds, and greater use of glyphosate. The case resulted in a four-year study on the issue. For more on the previous decision, go to http://www.hoards.com/?q=blog_RR%20alfalfa

And to learn more about the latest lawsuit, go to: http://bit.ly/Hoards_EPAlawsuit

Meanwhile, in another court case, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled there is no “duty to apply” for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit in the Clean Water Act. The only concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that have to obtain permits are those that are actually discharging pollutants into U.S. waters. Some are calling this a landmark case that limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule that requires permits for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)

In other words, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot require a CAFO to apply for or obtain a wastewater discharge permit unless there is an actual discharge of pollutants, notes attorneys at Michael Best and Friedrich LLP. The court case was decided following consolidation of multiple charges in no less than six federal courts. To read more about the decision, go to: http://bit.ly/HoardsRR