The Environmental Protection Agency reached an agreement with several environmental groups on a lawsuit challenging Clean Water Act permitting regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations - litigation the National Pork Producers Council is part of. NPPC still has deep frustration over EPA's continued efforts in developing these costly ag regulations that provide few environmental benefits. The settlement deal includes EPA issuing guidance for what constitutes proposal to discharge by a CAFO; issuing regulations requiring all CAFOs to submit information included in a Clean Water Act CAFO permit; and making information CAFOs are required to submit available to the public.
NPPC's Chief Environmental Counsel Michael Formica says EPA yanked the rug out from under America's livestock farmers with the settlement. The CAFO Rule sets a zero-discharge standard and imposes penalties of $37,500 a day on operations that have discharges. Large livestock operations can operate without a federal permit if they don't have discharges.
Randy Spronk, head of NPPC's Environmental Committee, says the agreement sets the stage for new Clean Water Act permitting measures that will add to producer costs, drive more farmers out of business and increase concentration in livestock production to hurt rural economies, while not doing anything to improve water quality.
According to Spronk the settlement was negotiated without consultation or input from the regulated farming community. He states the administration should be enacting measures that create jobs in this economy, not implementing regulations that put American farmers out of business.