The Clean Water Act requires that a permit be obtained before discharging pollutants into bodies of water in the United States. In Ohio, these permits are issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. But in 2002, after growing pressure from agriculture lobbyists, the Ohio Legislature passed legislation to transfer permitting authority over industrial farms to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. To date, this transfer has not been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The U.S. EPA has demanded legislative and regulatory changes before it will grant the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) permitting authority. Concerned citizens and organizations have urged the U.S. EPA to deny the transfer, citing the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s enforcement failures and the cozy relationship the agency has with the agricultural industry. Granting the Ohio Department of Agriculture permitting authority over industrial farms would create legislative, regulatory, and public interest conflicts. Further, it would take permitting authority away from the Ohio EPA, an agency already suitably regulating industrial farms under the Clean Water Act.
When Industry Knocks: Ohio Department of Agriculture's Fight to Control Pollution Permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations,
67 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol67/iss4/8