There's a little more to EPA's guidance on CAFO discharge permits on which HOTH (Hogs on the Hill) commented Tuesday. The guidance is part of a lawsuit settlement that not only was negotiated "quietly" between EPA and environmental groups and without input from farmers but also done while the agency is still involved in litigation over the discharge permit issue.
Livestock groups, including NPPC, have an ongoing lawsuit in federal court, challenging a 2008 CAFO Rule provision that would require large livestock operations that are presumed to be discharging to obtain Clean Water Act permits. That's contrary to a 2005 federal court ruling that such permits are required only for operations that actually discharge. (The environmental groups also were part of the ongoing suit but dropped out once they got the settlement.)
In the settlement, EPA agreed to:
• Issue guidance by May 28, 2010, for what constitutes a “proposal to discharge” by a CAFO. Operations presumed to be discharging would need to get permits.
• Issue regulations requiring all CAFOs – even if there is no evidence they are not properly managing their manure – to submit the kind of detailed information that would normally be included in a Clean Water Act CAFO permit.
• Make available to the public all the information that CAFOs are required to submit.
NPPC issued a press release on the matter.