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

Wood County residents suing EPA for allegedly violating Clean Water Act

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Two Wood County residents suing the Ohio and US EPA as well as the Ohio Department of Agriculture are saying these agencies violated the Clean Water Act.

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

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

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

Local attorney Jerry Phillips looked over the lawsuit Tuesday and says the residents are trying to get the EPA to 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 want the practice to stop."

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

"These individuals are taking a very substantial risk," said Phillips. "They're inquiring probably substantial legal fees."

Phillips says they seem to be asking for the cost of legal fees now, but if they are not successful they will bear the burden of all the legal fees involved and the cost of pursuing this case.

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

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