In an ongoing battle, fueled by activist groups, EPA has reached an agreement with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to make changes to Iowa’s Clean Water Act (CWA) permit and compliance program for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

The issue stems from a 2007 petition filed by several activist groups for EPA to withdraw Iowa’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program authorization from IDNR. The groups that filed the petition include the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Sierra Club and the Environmental Integrity Project. Federal regulations allow interested parties to file these petitions when they are concerned that a state is not meeting the minimum NPDES program requirements.

At the national level, two of those same groups, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Environmental Integrity Project, along with other environmental and animal-rights groups, recently filed a suit against EPA over the agency’s withdrawal of a proposed new rule governing reporting requirements for CAFOs.