U.S. District Court Judge John Preston Bailey denied on July 30 the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's request to be an intervenor in the case between Lois Alt and the EPA, according to the West Virginia Farm Bureau. Bailey wrote in his ruling that CBF wanted to present "an entirely different perspective to the Court," and allowing CBF to intervene would slow the judicial process or possibly add prejudice to the case.What is the difference between the Farm Bureau being allowed to intervene and the Bay Foundation? Heck if I know. Certainly, members the Farm Bureau represent have a direct financial interest in seeing how the EPA is going to treat ag runoff (and to try to influence that ruling by intervening).
The original lawsuit was brought by Lois Alt in 2012 after the EPA visited her Hardy County poultry operation. The EPA claimed that Alt needed a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for her farm's stormwater runoff under the Clean Water Act, because the runoff came in contact with dust, feathers or manure from the ground.
Alt argued that agricultural stormwater is exempt from permitting under the Clean Water Act, and her runoff was normal for farming. According to the Farm Bureau, Alt was threatened by the EPA with fines of as much as $37,500 per day if she did not obtain a permit.
The court previously allowed the Farm Bureau to intervene in the case. After that, the EPA withdrew its original order, petitioning the court to dismiss the case. At that point, the court granted a request from Alt and the West Virginia Farm Bureau as well as the American Farm Bureau Federation to continue the case.
For the Bay Foundation, the interest of individual members is far more indirect. Presumably members want a clean Bay, but does that mean they get to have an equal word in every case that has some potential impact on the Bay?