Ohio EPA Did Not Improperly Delegate Authority Over CAFO Permits - Case Dismissed.

The plaintiffs, citizen activists opposed to confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), sued the U.S. EPA, Ohio Dept. of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio EPA under the Clean Water Act (CWA) claiming that the ODA was improperly issuing National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for CAFOs without EPA approval via a memorandum of agreement, and that the Ohio EPA had transferred part of its authority to administer NPDES permits to the ODA without permission from the federal EPA by allowing the ODA to issue a manure management plan as a condition for obtaining an NPDES permit.  The transfer of authority was pursuant to a state law enacted in 2000 that transferred authority from the Ohio EPA to the ODA.  ODA then sought federal EPA approval to transfer NPDES permit authority for CAFOs to the ODA so that CAFO regulation would be centralized under the ODA.  The court previously denied the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction, and in this decision dismissed the plaintiffs' case.  The court noted that any manure management plan that is submitted to the Ohio EPA is reviewed by the Ohio EPA and can only be used as an NPDES permit application if it satisfies the CWA.  The court noted that the plaintiffs' assertions were "completely devoid of merit."  Askins, et al. v. Ohio Department of Agriculture, No. 3:14-cv-01699-DAK (W.D. Ohio Jan. 27, 2015).