Wood County residents suing EPA for allegedly violating Clean Wa - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Wood County residents suing EPA for allegedly violating Clean Water Act

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Two Wood County residentssuing the Ohio and US EPA as well as the Ohio Department of Agriculture aresaying these agencies violated the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit filed in federalcourt all boils down to waste permits for concentrated animal farms and theissue of who is allowed to issue them.

The Clean Water Act requiresconcentrated animal feeding operations to have a permit to discharge theirwaste and pollutions into the water. These permits are supposed tobe issued by the EPA, but the claim says that the EPA gave that responsibility away.

The residents making theclaims say that the EPA improperly gave their authority for the permits to theOhio Department of Agriculture.

Local attorney Jerry Phillipslooked over the lawsuit Tuesday and says the residents are trying to get the EPAto take that responsibility back in order to protect the water.

"From my readings of this,they're not actually asking for any damages," said Phillips. "They just wantthe practice to stop."

According to Phillips, lawsuitslike this are unusual and he says that the people filing it are taking a risk becauseif they don't win they could end up paying thousands.

"These individuals are takinga very substantial risk," said Phillips. "They're inquiring probably substantiallegal fees."

Phillips says they seem to beasking for the cost of legal fees now, but if they are not successful they willbear the burden of all the legal fees involved and the cost of pursuing thiscase.

The lawsuit claims that thetransfer of authority to issue those permits happened back in 2001 but that theOhio EPA waited until 2006 to notify the US EPA of the change. 

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