Thursday, May 27, 2010

EPA Settles Factory Farm Pollution Lawsuit With Enviros

EPA reached a settlement Tuesday with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance, which requies the agency to gather information about factory farms that don't have discharge permits and determine whether they should be regulated. The groups filed a federal lawsuit in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in early 2009, claiming the EPA gave too much discretion to farm operators in determining which farms needed permits to discharge waste into waterways. EPA will propose a rule to collect information from the factory farms and will take final action on the proposed rule within two years. It will seek public comment as part of that process.

Large factory farms are known as Confined Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. The EPA defines CAFOs as farms with any of the following: 700 dairy cows; 1,000 veal calves; 1,000 cattle; 2,500 swine weighing more than 55 pounds or 10,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds; 10,000 sheep or lambs; 55,000 turkeys; and between 30,000 and 125,000 chickens, depending on the manure handling system used.

EPA will look at the number of animals, how much waste they produce and how waste is stored and disposed of - whether it is applied to farm land as fertilizer, shipped to another location or used for other purposes. (Wash Post, AP, 5/26/10)

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