Environmental groups lost their lawsuit seeking to invalidate the consent agreements signed by the owners of 2,600 animal feeding operations, which included several broiler farms. In the suit, the activists claimed that EPA did not follow proper rule-making procedures in crafting agreements to allow farms to avoid legal punishment and lawsuits for violating air emissions requirements.
The agreements require farms to pay a civil penalty used to fund research to determine the level of emissions from animal feeding operations (AFOs). Researchers from eight universities recently began a 30-month study of emissions at AFOs at 24 sites in nine states. When the study is complete, the EPA is expected to draft air emissions standards for AFOs.