Challenging FSA’s Medium-sized CAFO Exemptions
Dakota Rural Action v. United States Department of Agriculture
A coalition of organizations, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit challenging a 2016 regulation issued by the Farm Service Agency that exempts medium-sized CAFOs from environmental review under NEPA.
April 4, 2023
On December 5, 2018, a coalition of organizations, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit challenging a 2016 regulation issued by the Farm Service Agency that exempts medium-sized concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The lawsuit argues that this exemption violates two federal laws — NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Who is being sued, why, and under what law? The lawsuit was brought against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. In the lawsuit, we argue that a 2016 regulation issued by the Farm Service Agency that exempts medium-sized CAFOs from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) violates two federal laws: NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act.
What court is the lawsuit filed in? U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Why this case is important: CAFOs generate massive amounts of waste, contaminating air, drinking water, and surface waters, impacting the health of both people and animals. Due to the threats these facilities pose to the environment and public health, NEPA requires federal agencies like the Farm Service Agency to conduct environmental reviews before granting loans for CAFOs.
Removing an entire class of CAFOs from NEPA’s purview greatly undercuts the law’s ability to protect our environment. Moreover, doing so violates federal law.
USDA Restricting Access to Plant-Based Milks in National School Lunch Program is Dietary Racism
USDA Restricting Access to Plant-Based Milks in National School Lunch Program is Dietary RacismProposed rule would maintain an unnecessarily complicated and confusing process for children to get access to plant-based milkMay 11, 2023 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges USDA to Strengthen Regulations for Handling and Exhibiting Wild and Exotic AnimalsRecommendations aim to decrease risk of zoonotic disease spread, animal escapes and attacks, and psychological and physical harm to the animalsApril 11, 2023 Press Release
NEPA Carveout for Medium-Sized CAFOs Struck Down by District CourtAnimal Legal Defense Fund lawsuit leads to rule revocation excepting medium-sized factory farms from environmental review before receiving federal fundingApril 4, 2023 News
Lawsuit to Force USDA to Recognize Its Authority to Take Possession of Animals Upon License Revocation
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. USDA
Challenging the USDA’s Secret Policy on Laboratory Inspections
Rise for Animals v. USDA
Looking for case and legal resources? View ResourcesSee More