Waterkeeper Alliance Senior Attorney to Advise EPA on Clean Water Act Improvements for Animal Feeding Operations - Waterkeeper

Waterkeeper Alliance Senior Attorney to Advise EPA on Clean Water Act Improvements for Animal Feeding Operations 

By: Waterkeeper Alliance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has invited Waterkeeper Alliance’s Senior Attorney Kelly Hunter Foster to serve on its new Animal Agriculture and Water Quality (AAWQ) Federal Advisory Committee Subcommittee. Tasked with studying water pollution from animal feeding operations and recommending improvements to the agency’s Clean Water Act (CWA) program, the AAWQ subcommittee will begin work immediately and continue until November 2025.

The subcommittee is being formed in response to multiple calls for accountability and regulatory reform, including a petition filed by EarthJustice in 2022 on behalf of Waterkeeper Alliance and a nationwide coalition of more than 50 stakeholders, including several Waterkeeper groups across the country. The groups argued that improved oversight of industrial-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is necessary to satisfy the federal CWA and executive orders intended to advance environmental justice.

Although it was denied, EPA credited the petition as making “an extremely compelling case for the need to holistically evaluate and improve EPA’s CAFO program” and led the agency to commit to determining how best to strengthen related CWA permitting.

Hunter Foster and her fellow appointees were selected from a host of nominees representing a diverse cross-section of research institutions, utilities, regulatory agencies, local government, states, environmental, and community groups, and the agricultural industry across the geographic regions of the United States.

In response, Marc Yaggi, CEO of Waterkeeper Alliance, issued the following statement: 

“We’re thrilled to congratulate Kelly Hunter Foster on her appointment to EPA’s AAWQ subcommittee. As a nationally recognized expert who has claimed many legal and advocacy victories, she brings unparalleled insight and expertise to the table. What truly sets her apart is her genuine passion for protecting our water resources and advocating for communities impacted by pollution from underregulated industries. With Kelly’s unique perspective and dedication, we’re not just optimistic about tangible change, we’re confident in it. Her leadership ensures that our efforts will be grounded in both expertise and empathy, paving the way for meaningful reforms to protect everyone’s right to clean and safe water.”