Thursday, July 19, 2012

EPA Drops CAFO Reporting Rule

In an about face, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dropped its proposed CAFO reporting rule. The rule was published last October and required CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) to report to the EPA the overall size of the farm and the total available manure application area. The reporting requirements were the result of a settlement agreement reached between the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Sierra Club.

The EPA's website states that it will still collect the information, but it will do so through other channels:
EPA will collect CAFO information using existing sources of information, including state NPDES programs and other programs at the federal, state, and local level to help ensure CAFOs are implementing practices that protect water quality.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has already indicated its disappointment. Jon Devine, senior attorney for the Council, stated on the Bloomberg BNA website:
Nothing in EPA's notice gives us any confidence that they'll be able to compile a usable database. The entire endeavor appears to be done on little more than shared hope.
The truth is that this information is, for the most part, available to the EPA already.  In Indiana, for example, the EPA could request that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management provide information regarding the state's CAFOs.  Other states are similar.

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