Chicken farmer, judge won’t let EPA off hook

A West Virginia farmer who refused to let the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency win a game of “chicken” is, with help from a federal judge, doing an enormous service to others who fear the EPA will come down upon them.

Last year, the EPA attempted to force chicken farmer Lois Alt to comply with expensive new regulations. She balked, filing a lawsuit that alleged the agency was overstepping its authority.

EPA officials backed off, withdrawing their attempt to enforce the rules against Alt. They then suggested she drop her lawsuit.

No, responded Alt. She worries the EPA will victimize other farmers in similar situations. She wants the courts to prevent that.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey sees her point. He has refused the EPA’s motion to dismiss Alt’s suit, noting the issues underlying it need to be addressed.

Good for Lois Alt and good for Judge Bailey! Now, instead of doing to Alt’s fellow farmers what it could not do to her, the agency will have to prove – if it can – it is acting responsibly.