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Groups challenge Montana regulations for large feedlot pollution release

Many cattle of different colors stand around a western US feed lot
Anne Lindgren
Many cattle of different colors stand around a western US feed lot

Advocacy groups are asking a court to overturn a permit for pollution release from over 100 facilities that raise and keep animals in confinement for food in Montana.

The groups say the permit breaks both federal and state water quality laws.

Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, Food & Water Watch and Center for Food Safety filed a complaint against the Montana Department of Environmental Quality in December in Gallatin County district court.

The groups say a statewide general permit that regulates wastewater discharge from concentrated animal feeding operations fails to include effective monitoring and compliance requirements that protect water quality.

Upper Missouri Waterkeeper executive director Guy Alsentzer says, “You have to actually be able to measure what’s happening on the ground so you can be preventative.”

According to the CDC, manure can contain a whole host of contaminants including nitrogen, phosphorus, antibiotics, growth hormones and certain pathogens, and large farms can produce more waste than some U.S. cities.

The DEQ says the permit was issued in compliance with all state and federal laws and includes monitoring, sampling and record keeping requirements. The agency’s response to the complaint is due by January 29.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.