The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld a landmark ruling that only requires producers who discharges pollutants into navigable waters to obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act.

In doing so, the court denied a request for a rehearing submitted by environmental petitioners, including the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club. The challenge was to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act regulations for confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

“Farmers have been fighting to prevent these unwarranted regulations for more than two years, and the court’s ruling provides a welcome resolution for thousands of farmers throughout America. We are pleased to see that the court is standing by its initial ruling and the correct interpretation of the Clean Water Act,” says Richard Schwartz, attorney for Crowell & Morning, a Washington, DC-based firm representing the National Pork Producers Council.

By reaffirming a February ruling by a New York court, states are allowed to exercise primary authority to manage farm permit issues.