A report to Congress in 2008 said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was failing to regulate pollution from the nation's livestock farms because it lacked information as basic as how many farms existed.

Four years later, the EPA still doesn't know the location of many livestock farms, let alone how much manure they generate and how all the waste is being handled.

Environmentalists say they were flabbergasted when the EPA recently decided against adopting a rule that would require livestock operators to provide the agency with information.

But industry officials say there's no reason for farmers to have to give the EPA information. An EPA spokeswoman says nobody at the agency is available to discuss the decision.