Monday, November 24, 2008

Private Info Going Public

EPA to require livestock operation manure plans to be made public

by Leah Beth Ward Yakima Herald-Republic

Large-scale livestock operations on tribal and nontribal land must now submit their manure-management plans for public review under regulations issued Thursday by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The requirement that the CAFO manure-management plans be open to the public was foreshadowed in a federal court decision in 2007. That ruling was a result of appeals to the 2003 proposed EPA discharge permit by both environmental and industry groups.

Industry groups prevailed on the question of whether dairies had a duty to apply for the new CAFO permits by arguing successfully that they do not discharge into waterways.

As a result, the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit said CAFO operators can't be required to get a discharge permit if there's only a potential for pollution. Put another way, a dairy that stores manure in lagoons and sprays it on crops is not considered to be discharging. Read More

The EPA wants to allow anyone who requests to do so, the permission to see your nutrient management plan. This is not only a privacy issue, but also a security issue. Anti-livestock groups love to see and report livestock operations that have problems with their systems, such as the rare occurrence of a lagoon that fails. With the type of information that these groups could now get about your system, there is the very real threat of someone trying to sabotage your setup to further their agenda. Allowing these people access to this information could be very dangerous.

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