But for the courage of Hardy County, W.Va., poultry producer Lois Alt, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency probably would be ordering scores of chicken farmers to comply with harsh new requirements or pay stiff fines.
But Alt took the EPA to court - and the agency backed down. It settled rather than let a judge and perhaps a jury decide whether it was being reasonable and acting within the law.
Perhaps there is a reason for that sudden lack of fortitude at the EPA.
Researchers at the University of Delaware have found that levels of nitrogen pollutants in poultry house manure are a whopping 55 percent lower than the EPA claims. In other words, the agency - this would be the "science is settled" crowd in Washington - doesn't have much of a leg on which to stand.
Good for UD researchers for exposing the EPA. Now, perhaps someone will take a truly objective look at other environmental rules, such as those involving coal.