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Washington Dairy Sued For Air Pollution

Environmentalists have filed suit against one of the Northwest’s largest dairy cow operations. But this lawsuit comes with a twist.

At issue is air pollution from the dairy, not waste getting into nearby streams. Correspondent Austin Jenkins explains.

Dairy farms have long been targeted for violating the federal Clean Water Act. But environmentalists say dairies also foul the air.

That’s the focus of a lawsuit filed against DeRuyter Brothers Dairy in south central Washington.

It seeks to require the 6000 cow farm to limit its methanol vapor emissions and get permits under the Clean Air Act permits.

Charlie Tebbutt with the Western Environmental Law Center says the goal is not to put the dairy out of business.

Charlie Tebbutt: “While I wish we could shut them down because it would save the neighbors a lot of headaches literally and nausea and lung problems – this will not shut them down. It just holds them accountable for their practices. Right now they’re getting away with it without being accountable.”

Methanol is considered a hazardous pollutant.

A person answering the phone at DeRuyter Brothers Dairy said no comment and hung up.

Dairies in Washington and Idaho have been sued previously for ammonia emissions.

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