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PUBLIC LISTENING SESSION
Draft USDA/EPA Unified National Strategy
December 10, 1998
Crown Plaza-Union Station
ALLEN REPORTING AGENCY
MS. RAEDER: Good afternoon, my name is Nancy Raeder. I'm a resident of the Noble County, southeast Ohio. I represent Concerned Citizens of Southeast Ohio and the Ohio Family Farm Coalition. As I said I'm a resident of southeast Ohio where American Electric Power holds title to several hundred thousand acres of actively reclaimed strip mine land. In January of this year, land manager of American Electric Power came to the Chamber of Commerce and announced their intention to lease 115,000 acres of uncompacted reclaimed strip mine ground to what was termed agricultural production. He has been introduced to hog farmers, he was also a salesman for a swine breeding system.
The intention is to install factory farms complete with anaerobic manure leavings and composting piles for the coalfields. Considering the pollution problems these facilities have caused on level farm fields across the country, the damage that would result from attempting to install manure lagoons on the unstable forest ground in the area of active mining in the hills of southeast Ohio would be nothing less than catastrophic. The facilities plan calls for the lagoon and composting areas to be located at the head of three watersheds that supply drinking water to southeast Ohio.
The draft unified strategy does not address the realities facing the rural residents living near these facilities, nor does it offer either policing policy an enforcement plan or any way to fund either, leaving it up to the neighboring landowners and residents to fight the battle. The plan is naive. It assumes that AFOs and CAFO operators are family farmers concerned for their animals, their environment, and their community. History has shown us otherwise.
If the USDA, USEPA continue to consider manure storage to be state of the art technology and allow it to continue, the draft strategy must insist on the installation of monitoring wells whenever a lagoon is used for storage, must call for a financial assurance bond to be posted to insure that rural communities do not have to pick up the tab for clean up in the case of abandonment of the facility, or leakage of the lagoon contents and the waterways around other property. It also must make arrangements for monitoring information obtained from the wells, and insist on closure of any facility that either does not cooperate or is contaminating the water or land.
All lagoons are anaerobic or otherwise, and all manure storage areas must be covered with an impermeable material that controls odor and prevents the release of the affluent into the air through evaporation. For too long the neighbor of these facilities have had the enjoyment of their properties stolen from them by poor management practices. Most important, the draft strategy must make accommodations for local control. Rural residents must have a say in what is allowed into their communities just as urban residents have a voice in zoning.
AFOs and CAFOs represent the poorest system of animal husbandry yet practiced. Nowhere have they proven successful, whether their measure be economy of scale or popularity with the neighbors. The attempt to get assembly line produced livestock has taken its toll on rural communities all over the world. In the early 1970s, Earl Butz, then U.S. Secretary of Agriculture made a speech telling farmers to get bigger or get out and get a job in town. Since then it's been the goal of USDA, land grant college system, and the cooperative extension service to assist agribusiness in taking over all food production, pushing the family farmers out of business and off the farms.
MS. GIBSON: Mary Gibson, Louisville, Ohio. I live directly 500 feet downwind of 10 poultry buildings owned by Park Farms. We moved from Wisconsin in 1976 where I had been a licensed real estate broker dealing in rural properties. I was very familiar with the Clean Waters Act as quite often these areas contained wetlands which had to be protected and noted to interested buyers. The acreage across from the gentleman's farm which we purchased in our move to Ohio had just such a wetlands designation.
Our community first learned of the proposed impact of the confinement poultry operation in 1989 by a newspaper announcement, not asking if we wanted it, just announcing it was going to occur. The initial impact was for two sites for a total of 20 poultry buildings. When the concerned citizens of our community started to research the poultry industry and ask questions regarding the social, economic and environmental impact of such an operation, the poultry owner determined to place six sites containing sixty buildings in a mile and a half, exercising his power with the help of all governing agencies over questioning residents. There were not permits to install, no site inspections, merely a waste management plan after the fact, which isn't worth the paper it was written on.
The wetlands across from our farm were dredged in 1994 without so much as raising an eyebrow from any official notified. The 15 foot filter strip was missing, even though the EPA's northeast office stated it was there. I took a picture this year again to show it was missing. In April of 1998, it was put it when the crops were planted. But what impact did having chicken waste applied right up to the banks of the middle branch of Nimisila Creek have on the waters of our state. With 703 acres for the waste of approximately 7 million chickens per year being overapplied, what effect did this again have on the waters of our state? Self-monitoring does not work.
The poultry producer claims he sells the waste to a different corporation, but it is only a subsidiary corporation owned by the poultry producer. At any rate, even if the waste was sold, the ODNR, according to the waste management plan, was supposed to regulate and monitor it. It never happened. Our home has been rendered unsalable. Who would want to live across from 160,000 chickens with the accompanying odor, flies, rodents, dust, or the all night truck on chicken pick 'em up night, or the sirens which jolt you away when the computer indicates there is a problem at one of the barns, and the health issues which our family has endured. We have had approximately nine factory managers in the past four years. So even the employees of Park Farms cannot tolerate the environment of living with this many chickens. The poultry owner does not live at any of the sites.
I am attaching both pictures and correspondence which I have worked on for the past eight years. We have had our property and health stolen from us without compensation. And as we live in a democracy, this is unconstitutional. Politics must be removed both from the Department of Agriculture and USEPA to allow states to continue down the road of encouraging this type of ultra-liberal concept of animal husbandry (end of time)
MR. ARMSTRONG: I am Jeff Armstrong, head of the Animal Science Department, speaking on behalf of Purdue Agriculture. I am pleased to make comments on behalf of the School of Agriculture for the university. We share the goals of the EPA strategy to minimize the water quality and public health impacts of animal feeding operations. We, like other land grant universities, USDA, EPA, and others, including our producers, believe that science-based rules and regulations are a key to an environmentally stable, efficient animal agriculture. Animal agriculture is very important to the economy in Indiana.
The emphasis on a voluntary approach to solving and implementing practices focused on site specific water quality problems, coupled with financial incentives to encourage the implementation are commendable. The concept of using whole farm comprehensive research management plan is positive as long as there is sufficient flexibility and support to meet site specific needs. The plan must be economically feasible and should produce benefits for the operation and for the environment.
One of our overarching concerns equal to the importance of science-based regulatory and voluntary programs is the importance of flexibility. We suggest that outcomes be stressed over prescriptive detailed pathways. This difference has major implications on Indiana's 38,000 livestock producers. Partnerships are very important. Instead of inventing and duplicating work, EPA and USDA should encourage the implementation of what we know and do not-what we do not know, and answer questions, research questions therefore. This needs to include land grant university and ARS research and education including cooperative extension direct interface with producers. Will NRCS be the final authority? This needs to clearly be determined because NRCS or a third party vendor that is placed in a regulatory role, this could create a difficult working situation. Extensive record keeping, accountability of implementation is important. Phosphorus appears to be one of the limiting nutrients. Currently it is nitrogen. The scientific community has not agreed on a policy for phosphorous. Considerable research and a consensus about phosphorous limitations must be arrived at before performance standards can be implemented.Does the EPA and NRCS have the technology to evaluate certification programs? We believe the cooperative extension service and the USDA, EPA all should be involved in a partnership to do this.
In summary, the draft unified strategy has the positive intent of using comprehensive nutrient management plan to control and regulate water pollution. A whole farm nutrient management plan is very positive management approach for economic and environmental benefits. Even though the draft strategy is encouraging a voluntary approach to achieve nutrient management plans on all livestock operations, considerable regulatory pressures are attached to the producers. In addition an aggressive time line with limited financial and personnel resources could cause unwise decisions and standards in the development (end of time)
MS. Kahliz: Good afternoon. My name is Tonya Kahliz from Greenville, Ohio. I was raised on a little farm in rural Mercer County. My father got up early every morning to go outside and take care of his livestock. My father cleaned his buildings and crates every days, well as the pits to help combat the problem of odors, flies, and contamination. Can these factory farms say they can do that? No. They don't own the buildings or even own the animals. Why should they take care of them. They're not going to.
After nearly 50 years of being a farmer, now because of these facilities, my father has to struggle to keep what he has been working hard for 50 years. He has these popping up in his own backyard, which brings the prices of hogs and commodities such as corn and wheat down to all time lows. The other day my father sold some hogs and got $15 for a hundred pounds. You don't have to do the math. That's $30 for a 200-pound hog. Now, we all know it takes more than $30 to raise a hog. Now my father cannot afford to sell hogs at a loss like that because he would be out of business as a farmer.
Another concern is water and soil contamination. My concern is when these lagoons are built on top of aquifers and close to residential wells that after years of use they will leak and contaminate the aquifers and the wells. And my father has his water tested every three months to ensure the water that his family and neighbors drink is safe. Are these farmers going to do that? No. Some of these farmers don't even live on the land that they propose to put these facilities on. So why should they care.
Which brings me to soil contamination and manure management. After years of saturation, the ground will be worth nothing and will be contaminated as well as the ground water below. Another concern is the streams and rivers that run through these facilities from becoming contaminated. I have personally seen local rivers in my area such as the Wabash River be fully contaminated with hog manure, and nothing was done. That has got to stop. We need this taken care of now.
In closing, just today in Parke County there is a $10 million lawsuit to stop a farmer from putting one of these two and a half miles outside the city limits due to the water contamination of the city water. That's why I urge state lawmakers and federal lawmakers to put tougher restrictions on these type of facilities until the environmental and health concerns, and the safety of all citizens are involved. Thank you.
MS. STUDER: Good afternoon. My name is Susan Studer and I'm the community outreach coordinator for Ohio Environmental Council. I'm here this evening, this afternoon, on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Council 105 member groups to submit comments to the draft strategy. The existence of outdated rules to regulate livestock facilities have allowed a few bad actors in Ohio to take advantage of this weakened regulatory system, and which have led to various negative environmental impacts. Many Ohioans have learned the hard way that industrial agriculture operations require the same strong laws, constant monitoring, and assertive enforcement as other industrial facilities. We are encouraged by this attempt to pull together the states under one umbrella guideline. The patchwork of states' regulations and authorities has created situations where states have had significant competitive advantages or disadvantages, depending on how you look at it, over other states. If there was a state that needed some new guidelines, it is our great Buckeye state. Thus, we're encouraged by this concerted effort to unify the strategy to protect water quality.
The process is a potentially positive first step in addressing non-source pollution and determining total maximum daily loads of which Ohio Environmental Council is very concerned. We realize that the intent of the strategy is not to remedy all the esthetics, social and other related problems that plague these factory farms. We do have several recommendations which we hope will strengthen the strategy to further protect our nation's water quality.
The elimination of environmental audit privileges provisions. Environmental audit privilege and immunity will impede further efforts to protect public health and public waters. This trade secrecy law infringe upon public access to government documents and records and will allow chronic and habitual polluters to continue their errant ways. Local citizen involvement has been integral to continued monitoring and follow up of verified complaints. Allowing the continuation of these privileges jeopardizes the draft strategy's attempts to promote proper manure handling and application.
Uniform adoption of phosphorous standards. Just as different states have different regulations, so do agencies within states. ODNR has the more protective phosphorous standards while OEPA continues to operate under a nitrogen standard. OEC echoes noted researcher Andrew Sharp. Lasting improvements in water quality can only be achieved by valid systems inputs and outputs of both nitrogen and phosphorous.
Protecting drinking water from poultry manure. Poultry operations should be required to obtain permits regardless of whether poultry manure litter is wet or dry. Poultry operations of 40,000 birds or more should be issued Clean Water Act permits. The strategy waffles on whether all dry or wet phosphate farms will be regulated. Over-application of dry manure is equally egregious as we've witnessed in Ohio.
Citizen involvement and public input is key. And we appreciate the opportunity to voice our concerns. However, we are discouraged by the recent deal USEPA struck with the pork producers in regards to Clean Water Act compliance audit program. We hope that that isn't extended into the poultry industry.
MR. PERKINS: Good afternoon. My name is Dan Perkins. I live in Licking County, Ohio's second biggest county in the state of Ohio. I live right over the line fence from the infamous Buckeye Egg Farm. A drunk walked into a restaurant one time, and he ordered scrambled eggs. So the waitress went into the kitchen and the chef said, "We just have one egg." And she says, "Well, that's okay." Says, "He's so drunk that he'll never know the difference. Find something else." So he found Limburger cheese. She took that out to him. He started eating, and he looked at her and he said, "Where do you get your eggs?" And she said, "Well, we have a chicken house out back." Well, he says, "Do you have your own rooster?" And she said, "No. Why do you ask?" So he said, "You'd better get one because a skunk's been screwing your chickens."
Well, the Anton Polman has been screwing the chickens and the citizens of Licking County. The EPA, the Ohio EPA has been very lax in enforcing rules and regulations. There have been two ponds or stream pollution. They haul manure at night. There has been no monitoring to the amount of manure that they put on the ground. And I live on this farm. I'm a personal witness as to what has happened. This is not hearsay, this is personal experience.
The other day a neighbor and I went out and we counted the homesteads that had been obliterated and the number of wells involved. There are over 45 wells that we don't know whether the EPA, the health department or anybody else has monitored them to see that they've been properly capped or plugged. Now, if that does not institute a dangerous danger of peril to the people living in that area, their drinking water and so on, I don't know what is.
They claim to be, the Buckeye Egg Farms claim to be good neighbors and wardens of the land. But Anton Polman and his henchmen have cut down hundreds of trees. They are farming up close to the creek banks, and there's just been one thing right after another. And they've had six managers since 1982. Now, that says they've got a personnel problem. They've hired illegal migrant laborers. There are all kinds of flies, and rats. And in closing I want to point this out. Rats, smells, flies, and lies, and that's no surprise with the Buckeye Egg Farm. Thank you.
MR. LOUDON: I'm Thurman Loudon. I represent the cattlemen from Harrison County. Harrison is one of twelve or fifteen counties in the parched area of south central Indiana. The coffee conversation around town says that we may have to keep our cattle as much as 50 feet from all the sinkholes. If this is true, we're out of the cattle business on a small family farm. There's no way that we can afford to fence off all the sinkholes of the particular area that I'm located in. The only alternative to get any income from this land is to lease this land to rural crop people in this highly erodible area, and try to determine to obtain some income from that.
The federal government has spent millions of dollars to try to encourage us to grow grass and forages. The only reason we have cattle is to utilize and sell these forages. We have subdivisions in this area-I'm sure that there are restrictions on them, but there are also some defects. And having spent a lot of years in public health, I feel like there's lot better if I have to consume coli from an animal source rather than a subdivision. Thank you.
MR. BEAR: My name is Robert Bear, and my wife and I reside one and a half miles from the little village of Marseilles, Ohio, which is located about halfway between Columbus and Toledo. We are now being invaded by so-called by world class state of the art confined animal feeding operations, CAFOs, high density agriculture, major livestock management facilities, or just plain factory farms, including concentrated vertically integrated egg factories and hog units that are popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain.
My wife and I are members of the Concerned Citizens of Central Ohio, and are familiar with the Agri General Buckeye Egg Farm as we live approximately 1800 feet from 16 barns under construction, each 68 feet wide and 664 feet long, that will house 3.3 million layers plus large processing building is being prepared. Three barns already house birds. One of the BEF's facilities near Mt. Victory, Ohio has been operating since September 1995 and has been notorious for EPA, health and OSHA violations. Some of the violations German owner Anton Polman has had in Germany where he was fined and banished from the egg business. This is why we have asked our governor and legislators for a moratorium on construction of confined animal feeding operations until the EPA becomes regulatory instead of operating by draft policy.
Two additional layer sites, feed mill, egg breaking plant have been permitted by the EPA, plus national pollutant discharge elimination system permits to allow further degradation of our streams. Within a seven-mile radius, BEF will have 20 million hens producing approximately 135,000 tons of dry manure a year. They also will produce 235,000 gallons of egg wash water per day to be sprayed on fields surrounding the site. Approximately 4200 4-inch 4 feet exhaust fans will emit tons of feathers, dandruff, dust and pathogens in the air.
You will want to observe the picture at the back of the room. Manure has been stockpiled in the fields beyond the time limits, spread near wells, ditches, and schools, and the church. Odors, flies, and beetles that were introduced to eliminate fly larvae have invaded homes. Mr. Ralph Williams of Purdue University was hired by the BEF and stated that the fly problem did not originate from the farm, but in the infestation continues.
Fifteen shallow wells have ceased providing water near the Mt. Victory site. The chicken barns are sprayed insecticide to attempt to reduce the fly population. Do the chickens and eggs absorb the spray? BEF's poultry farms are increasing their laying numbers to 11.2 million. With time comes change. Back at the turn of the century, my grandfather cleared a portion of a 75-acre farm. At that time (end of time)
MR. MC DOWELL: My name is Gary McDowell, and I am the third generation to own and operate a hog form and grain farm in central Ohio, and I have some concerns about this draft. Of great concern is the comprehensive nutrient management plan. The numbers are staggering. In talking with some of our NRCS staff, it would seem unlikely that even with the help of extension and private consultants that the task of writing plans could be accomplished within the time frame proposed. In fact there has been some speculation that this may be a calculated strategy to set up local control to fail. I've been told by NRCS personnel that they expect the reduction of work force by one third in the next five years. We have had plans similar to these for some time, but there are some significant changes in the two new proposal that merit comment.
Feed management. We have years of research documenting proper diet for livestock based on nutritional needs animal health and well being and economic considerations. Since there's no mention of these factors, I can only assume that they will take a back seat at best formulating diets based on what is being excreted. These additives such as phytast which you mentioned and others must pass the test of consumer acceptance. This has proven difficult if not impossible in the past.
Pathogens are to be included in the plans to minimize water quality and public health risks. While we all need to be concerned about these and our water supply, we should also consider the relative risk associated with specific pathogens. There are very few pathogens capable of crossing the line between the species. Look at me. In 50 years of being around livestock, I have never contracted any disease attributed to my contact with animals. Just as an aside from a public health standpoint. A much greater concern is the frequent discharge of raw sewage from municipal treatment plants.
The draft states that for most producers a permit will not be needed. This seems to be in conflict with the conditions that are developing in other areas. Specifically the draft states that if you're in impaired watershed, you will need a permit. While at first that does not seem alarming, it is when you consider that the evidence suggests that most states have loaded up their draft specimens from impaired water to include most and in some cases all of the state. To me this means that in all probability all 450,000 AFOs will need to have permits.
There is an assumption by the authors of the draft that large facilities producing large quantities of manure are a risk to water quality and public health without regard to whether they are well managed or not. I would submit that management is the most important factor to the equation. Without good management, all the fancy bells and whistles and CNMPs in the world will be of little consequence.
Another concern is the elimination of the 24-hour 25-year storm event. It is my understanding that this has not been done in the past with other programs. In some of my research it has been mentioned that perhaps you do not have the statutory authority to do this.
Soil phosphorous levels. At a recent meeting with university researchers, there was general agreement that the science was not in evidence to prescribe any certain number is too high. In addition there was general agreement the testing procedures were subject to a 20 percent variability. Thus my soil test rate 200 pounds per acre, the real number could be anywhere from 160 to 240 pounds. It seems to me that if we're going to have a whole set of regulations on numbers (end of time)
MR. WHITE: Dave White, Columbus, Ohio, representative of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. We welcome the opportunity to provide input regarding the proposed strategy. Like to share with you a brief survey of our concerns regarding it.
We believe the proposed strategy will be counterproductive to the progress already achieved by current rules and regulations in our state. In Ohio, livestock and poultry operations that exceed 100,000 animal units are required to have an approved manure management plan in order to obtain APTI, a permit to install. Livestock operations consisting of less than 1,000 animal units are encouraged to voluntarily develop and implement an approved manure management plan in cooperation with their local SWCD. This strategy is in place in Ohio, and it works. Changing the regulatory approach at this time will not result in cleaner water for Ohio.
Number two. Our second concern is the lack of funding for the proposed expansion of MPDS permitting program, which will include requiring permits for greater number of facilities below the 1,000 animal unit threshold. The strategy intent to regulate significant number of animal feeding operations below the 1,000 number unit threshold is neither justified nor is it the most effective means to achieve progress. Such development requires significantly more resources. It will be a monumental task for state water quality agencies to permit these confined operations above 1,000 animal units let alone to permit those with fewer than 1,000 animal units. The financing for farm assistance and for necessary staff is not available to accomplish this goal. USEPA and the USDA will set up states and the farmer for failure.
Number three. Our next concern deals with the need for improved water quality data. Please consider this: the collection of data on animal feeding operations is a cause for concern from the standpoint of individuals right to privacy and the potential misuse or abuse of data and other information. The collection of data from USDA and its programs such as NRCS Technical Assistance and EQUIP, presents a serious threat to the continued success of voluntary incentive based programs like these, the wetland reserve program, the CRP program, and other similar initiatives. The water quality data on which this approach is premised is inadequate. US Geological Survey has stated in published reports that the national water quality inventory data is so severely flawed and scientifically invalid that it would not, could not be used to summarize water quality conditions or trends. Thank you.
MR. KROUSE: My name is Bob Krouse, and I represent Midwest Poultry Services, egg producer and member of United Egg Producers. United Egg Producers is a federated marketing cooperative made up of individual egg producers engaged in production of shell eggs from flocks they own and manage on premises owned or leased by the farmer. Other members include owners of breeder flocks, hatcheries, starter pullets and contract egg producers that meet the requirements of owned or leased facilities.
The industry has changed considerably in 30 years, and we're proud of the food safety and environmental programs which we have helped to develop and support. In addition, UAP has participated in the national poultry dialogue working to develop a voluntary standard for proper manure management. Midwest Poultry Services operations are located in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. We have approximately four million laying hens producing over one million eggs annually. Our facilities are managed to keep the chicken manure as dry as possible. Dry manure is environmentally safer, easier to transport, and land apply, and more valuable. We sell the majority of our manure to nearby farmers for use as fertilizer. We have manure management plans at each of our facilities, and work hard to make certain that land applications meet all state requirements.
Many of the concepts contained in the draft unified management strategy for animal feeding operations only indirectly applies to egg producers. This is because our industry primarily sells or gives to third parties such as farmers and professional haulers the poultry manure produced in our operations. However, UEP members support the use by these individuals of proper procedures and practices for storage, transport and utilization of poultry manure so as to protect water quality and the environment.
I would like to comment on several of these important concepts. First of all, nutrient management. Poultry manure is an asset, something that enriches the soil, produces healthy crops, and lowers farmers dependence on commercial fertilizer. Properly balancing the needs of the soil and the manure production is done through nutrient management planning, something the draft strategy has-expects of all AFOs nation-wide. We believe that these plans should be technically sound, economically feasible and flexible enough to be site specific. They should recognize regional differences in climate, soil types, and farming practices. Additionally, perhaps 300,000 new plans would be needed to comply with the draft strategy. There needs to be an appropriately long phase in period that recognizes the availability of private and public sector specialists to design the plans.
Regulation of egg production operations as CAFOs. The EPA's current guidance interprets the
excludes from regulation as point sources all poultry and egg production operations which have no discharge at all to the waters of the United States. Thus, they are not required to obtain MPDS permits unless they stockpile or land apply manure so that runoff of significant amounts of pollutants occur to the surface water. Then such facilities are considered CAFOS if they have more than 1,000 animal units or fewer animals if they contribute to local water impairment Since much of the manure produced by our industry is sold or given away to farmers and others-thank you.
MR. JOHNSON: Good afternoon. My name is William Johnson. I'm from Clarks Hill, Indiana, and as we say in Clarks Hill, it's not the end of the world but you can see it from there. We live in a great country. America is a unique country. And the word unique means one of a kind. And how unique are we? Well, in the world today there is not a Canadian dream, there's not an Italian dream, there's not a Russian dream. If there's a Russian dream, it is to move to the United States and to experience the American dream.
What is the American dream. Well, a great deal of confusion at the end of this century. As we look ahead, what is the definition? Well, my favorite definition is the definition that Ronald Reagan once used when he said, "A rising tide lifts all ships." And my challenge to you committee today is it doesn't make any difference how high the tide rises if the government sinks your boat on the bottom. The government can sink your boat on the bottom by tax policy, by trade policy, and rules and regulations. So to keep my boat in the water, here are a few things that I'd like to see.
Number one. In Indiana enforcement of all environmental laws. The citizens of Indiana do not know that their state legislature in 1994 passed House Bill 13284, which allows for the practice of permitting companies to conduct secret reviews of pollution activities. By state law, the information in the reviews cannot be used to punish the polluter. The acting EPA head said as a matter of policy that the EPA opposes such practices. And he says, and I quote, "These private audits invite secrecy, complicate investigation, and complicate criminal procedure, protects facts not just about legal conclusion but about evidence of wrongdoing." Indiana jointed Oregon, Illinois, Arkansas, and Mississippi in these audit privileges; and 17 states, including Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky offer immunity as well as audit privileges, meaning a company cannot be punished even if the pollution causes considerable harm.
I'm going to skip over all the rest of my points. I want to get to my last point. And I objected to the short time that we have. The people who live in Indiana and this part of the country, we were Populists. We were people who were not poor, but we just often had enough money to stick our heads about the ground and look around, and we had not liked what we saw. We thought that someone or something was always keeping us from getting ahead. We were resentful. Populism is a resentful movement. We came from Europe not because we were hopeless and helpless but because we were at risk. We came to America to experience a rising tide. In Europe there was a mood of oppression on it. It was the church, the state, and the king. And in America we found the boot can be, earlier in this century big railroads, large banks, and the wall street. But today in the last 50 years, realize that this boot of oppression on our back could be the government.
I love America more than any person in this room. I love America. But it is a government that I'm afraid of.
MR. SMITH: Good afternoon. My name is Grant Smith. I represent the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana. We're a statewide organization. We have 300,000 members in the state, and we've been involved in farm policy on the state level and the federal level for some time. We're interested in boosting farm income for family farmers, looking for more benign, environmentally benign ways to farm. We also supported the organic certification bill in the state, made comments on the USDA proposed regulations on organic farming.
So we're mostly concerned about factory hog operations and their impact they will have in this state, not only environmentally but economically on real hog farmers. In terms of the national strategy, EPA has often talked about a multi-media approach to problems, industrial problems. We submit the EPA and USDA that factory hog farms are industrial problem, and think that the strategy although it's good and that it differentiates between large and small operations, should look at a multi-media approach. We have-we know that there's air problems emanating from lagoons, and from other sources, and large barns. Why aren't we addressing that in the strategy? North Carolina says that the worst problem they have is atmospheric deposition of ammonium in waste and streams that is causing all sorts of problems. Minnesota is looking at hydrogen sulfide, and has a standard for hydrogen sulfide because of public health problems. So we should look at that problem.
These large lagoons are nothing more than landfills and should be treated as landfills, and regulated as landfills. They may be worse than landfills because they're open cesspools. And legalese aside, this is liquid hazardous waste we're dealing with. I mean, nobody is going to get near this stuff. And there are pathogens in the waste, heavy metals in the waste, all sorts of things that could characterize it as hazardous whether you give it the legal definition or not. So why aren't we dealing with all these aspects and problems from factory hog operations instead of just a single media approach?
Secondly, there is a concern with liability. Liability should fall on those who own the animals, or through contractual relationships stipulate the type of operation and the type of hog that's going to be produced. We have people asking us here why in Indiana is the profit margin of a Georgia fir more important than some of these property values here. And we have to put liability on where the responsibility is.
In terms of economics, we should be looking at promoting other type paradigms of hog production that are a lot more benign environmentally like outdoor production, and best management practices. We should be looking at federally franchised and state franchised coops to allow small farmers to have access to markets. The biggest problem with (end of time)
MS. SCHNAPP: My name is Rae Schnapp. I'm with the Hoosier Environmental Council. We like the fact that the EPA strategy recognizes that larger operations, that is those that handle large volumes of manure pose a greater risk. Indiana's draft rules seems to reject that basic premise. We support the requirement for the MPDS permits for factory farms. We think that the industrial agriculture operations should be treated like other industries. But many aspects of the AFO strategy are vague.
Presumably the MPDDS permit would require monitoring and enforcement. We think those are essential. Indiana has many examples of ground water and surface water contamination with nutrients and E coli, but there's been little effort into identification of the sources of that contamination.
The draft strategy places a heavy emphasis on voluntary compliance with permits, and that really worries us. We think there's ample evidence that the voluntary approach does not work. Similarly, the AFO strategy seems to emphasize outdated practices that have been in use for many years. Storing manure in open pits, and spreading untreated waste on the land may have worked well for diversified small farms, but this technology is not appropriate for large operations. USDA and EPA need to be promoting various treatment and pathogen reduction just like with municipal waste. However, we don't think it's appropriate to use financial incentives to subsidize corporate agriculture.
We were happy to read that the goal of the strategy was to preserve the sustainability of our livestock industry. That's a very important goal. But we think that the sustainability of the industry depends on the number of producers, not the number of animals produced.
One other thing that I think is sort of missing from the EPA USDA AFO strategy is the issue of antibiotic resistance. We need to be looking at antibiotic resistance, not just the presence of antibiotics in the water, in the environment or the food, but confined feeding operations often use antibiotics, low levels of antibiotics on animals that are not sick, on healthy animals. This is a perfect way to develop antibiotic resistance in disease organisms. When untreated waste is spread on the land, those bacteria are free to recombine with others. I used to work at Biotechnology Lab at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. So I know a little bit about this. And it's like conducting a large scale genetic engineering experiment in our backyard. Thank you.
MR. HENDRIX: Brian Hendrix with Rose Acre Farms. I'm in southern Indiana. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to voice my opinion about regulations that are coming, and regulations that are in place now. We are farmers in Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri. We are environmentalists trying to make sure that our kids and descendants are proud of what they do, and what their forefathers have done. We are after the same managers that you all are trying to get to. But everyone that is involved with agriculture in any farm is facing the same issues. Here are the issues that are at hand that we see.
Are the standards fair and uniform for all people involved? Example. Tyson in Missouri has a facility permit limitation on ammonium of four milligrams per liter, dumping at a rate of 700 gallons per minute. I found this on the internet from Missouri DNR October newsletter. We were shut down at one of our farms two months ago for a discharging two gallons per minute of water that ran above two milligrams per liter. There were fish living in this hole until the state made us siphon the water out and place it in a lagoon on our farm.
When are we going to test the residential lawns spreading fertilizer on their already green grass? What about golf courses? Has anyone tested there? Are we testing field tiles for runoff? What are the differences between spring planting and fall harvest? What about Fall Creek in Indianapolis? Based on the editorial in The Star on December 9th of 1998, article said that there are 108 communities out of compliance right now in the state of Indiana. What about these small towns 25 to 50 homes that do not have regional sewer systems? These are people, or these people are supposed to be on septic systems, but do they work properly.
What scientific evidence do we have to show what is good and what is bad? What happens with the atmosphere during a lightning storm? Has it been proven scientifically that these levels are actually bad for you? I heard last summer on the radio that the White River basin was cleaner than it had been for 10 years. Has there been enough testing done to really tell if the levels set are reasonable?
We at Rose Acre Farms have done limited testing in a couple of counties in southern Indiana to see where we compare to others. It appears that there seven other areas in the counties we tested that are not compliant right now. Examples, smaller feed lots. We are planning on checking areas all over the nation so we know where we stand, and also where everyone else stands.
A few years ago we went through the cholesterol problem with eggs, showing that they were bad for you because of cholesterol. This caused the egg industry millions of dollars in revenue because myth instead of complete science. Today the nutrition centers state that this was never true.
In conclusion, I want to know where our food will come from, what it will cost, and who will be producing it. This testing will run small family farm out of business. On the other hand, we can comply and it will most definitely raise the cost of food. Again, thank you for you time.
MR. CHAMBERS: David Chambers from Henry County, east central Indiana. The concern I have is about the broad stroke approach without scientific data to back up the assumption that agriculture and feed lots specifically are the source of contamination. We as cattle feeds are concerned about water quality as much as you are because of our dependency on quality of water both for livestock and personal drinking. I feel that the strategy, this strategy that you developed, is dependent upon the general acceptance that there is a major water quality problem and the animal agriculture is the cause. Without this acknowledgment, the strategy has no starting point. The data to support the claim of a major water quality problem is severely lacking. Thank you.
MR. WILLIAMS: I'm Paul Williams, Indiana State Poultry Association. The ISPA represents over 95 percent of our state's egg, turkey, duck and boiler producers including breeders and hatchers. As the poultry industry has evolved, we are pleased to have initiated numerous successful food safety bio-security and environmental programs. Additionally, all segments of the poultry industry are participating in the national poultry dialogue to develop voluntary standards for the best utilization of manure.
Much of the manure derived from poultry production is sold or provided to farmers or professional haulers. Thus for many the concept presented in the draft unified strategy for animal feeding operations do not apply. However, the members of the ISPA support practices that protect water quality fully utilize nutrient values of manure. I would like to focus my attention on several important areas.
CAFOs in Indiana. Animal feeding operations in Indiana are approved as zero discharge under the rules of Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The state's zero discharge program h as been in effect since it was developed by the agricultural community and voted into law in 1971. Since its inception over a year ago, I have been a member of the IDEM's confined feeding technical work group. The work group members include representatives from academia, environmental organizations, citizens groups and other agricultural representatives. It is important that the USDA and EPA recognize the quarter century of success that this committee is working to continue. Across the country, there have been gaps in water quality protection. However, in Indiana and other states where successful controls are in place, it is unnecessary to add a layer of expensive regulation if water quality protection is the mission.
Nutrient management. Poultry litter is an asset which when recycled enriches the soil, and produces healthy crops and lowers farmers' resistance. I'm going to skip that section. With one minute to go, I'm going to go on.
Expanding the CAFO definition. Unified strategy cites key permitting issues that the EPA intends to consider during regulatory revision process. Among these items is expansion of the CAFO definition to include large poultry operations consistent with the size thresholds for other animal sectors. As CAFOs, regardless of the type of watering and manure handling systems, the majority of poultry manure is dry. Most operations it's handled without the addition of water. Current watering equipment nearly negates any excess water. We believe that expanding the strategy regardless of the type of watering or manure handling system expands regulation without providing additional water quality protection.
Eliminating the storm exception. The EPA's desire to remove the exemption from permitting for AFOs that only discharge during a 24- to 25- hour storm would also greatly widen the regulatory net without increasing water quality. We stand firm in our belief that our environment (end of time)
MR. CULP: I'm Jim Culp from Francesville, Pulaski County. While most livestock species have moved to confinement only systems, the beef industry maintains its unique partnership with the land through its use of grazing systems. The concern we have with proposed national strategies is the broad brush approach to possible site specific problems. These potential problems should be addressed at the management level and not force the entire livestock industry into a regulatory maze which may or may not affect our water quality. This strategy is dependent upon the general acceptance that there is a major water quality problem, and that animal agriculture is the cause. The data to support the claim of a major water quality problem is severely lacking.
Instead of making a concerted effort to develop a comprehensive data base of water quality, it appears that EPA has taken a much different approach. First, without source information, regulators back into any necessary scenario which in the end targets animal agriculture. A more sound approach, which would be to conduct research to develop a credible data base of water research quality, and then consider strategy to address real and uncovered site specific problems. With the seemingly apparent decision by EPA and USDA to pursue this public policy strategy, the Indiana Beef Cattle Association asks you to address these major concerns.
Number one. AFO CAFO definitions. It is very difficult to really determine what is a CAFO and what is an AFO, and what changes are being proposed for each group. The second confusion over who is or could be regulated. Document tells what EPA defines CAFOs are subject to, and then uses very nebulous language to bring all other AFOs into the regulated group. Expansion of permit program without adequate water quality data to support claims that agriculture as a whole is guilty of significant water pollution, why are we supposed to allow significant expansion of the MPDS program?
The zero discharge requirement is a strong performance standard, and it's working. Resource and implementation. This often claims that agriculture produces nearly 70 percent of the non point source pollution. However, the draft strategy states that only 39 percent of the 670 million made available since 1990 for Section 319 grants have founded agriculture products. Let's more efficiently use these dollars.
Regulation incentives. The philosophy of the standard is driven by regulatory oversight. Overreaching state delegated authority. The EPA and the USDA should be proposing this strategy for those states without confined feeding rules. In conclusion, the EPA and the USDA need to collect data on water resources to determine if, where and to what extent water quality problems exist before establishing policies and procedures. Set a stable and reasonable performance (end of time)
MS. RODIBAUGH: Hi. I'm Danita Rodibaugh, a pork producer and farmer from Rensselaer, Indiana. I also sit on the Indiana Commission for Agricultural Rural Development, and I'm past chair of the National Pork Producers Council and Environmental Committee. There will be other speakers today that will reference the groundbreaking, precedent setting exercise that the pork industry went through on the national environmental dialogue of pork production. Also, we have a number of other ongoing programs, our own farm assessment program, our odor initiatives. And the program that I chair the writing of, the producer education program, our environmental insurance program.
Through our environmental insurance program we talk about nutrient management plans, and we have encouraged producers to do just that. So the comprehensive nutrient management plan is a concept that we can agree with. Having been part of Environmental Protection Agency's federal advisory committee on total maximum daily loads, I see whole another set of questions that this draft strategy raises. The whole reference to sensitive areas and just what constitutes a sensitive area. And what about the watersheds and the water segments? You know, we talked a little bit about that, Jeff, in your presentation that our areas that are on the 303 list, what's attributed. If you're a non point source or allocated, if you're a point source, through the TMDL process, it's modeling used, the effect that prohibitions between the time of listing and to the development of the TMDL. You know, there's a prohibition on the issuance of new USDA permits. And if this is a new process issuance of MPDS permits. And I know that Grubbs and I have talked about this, but it's still a concern how this is written into the policy and how that will happen.
Having sat there on the fact, you know, we also talked about threaten to accede. Is that a sensitive area, too. So I think there are some far reaching questions and implications when we talk about the TMDL program.
Also, sitting on the fact I learned about the politics of EPA with state agencies, with the regional EPAs thrown in there. And I've seen that at work as we worked through our IDM process. And the strategies being levered from a federal level with no-little or no involvement from the state. And it's important to allow IDM confined feeding rule making process to work. We still have some areas of concern there, but I see two different drafts on two different tracks, and I'm not sure that they're parallel.
Also in the strategy you could read into it the operations over the threshold are culprits where the data doesn't support that. Regulations should not be based on size, but also-but should be based on environmental performance. Even with the presentation today, Jeff, I still think, agree with some others there's some confusion on what's an AFO, and what's a CAFO.
I think that our history as pork producers has demonstrated our commitment to the environment and to be good stewards. We have a number of plans, programs that we've actively worked with. And I think we'll continue to be good stewards because our future depends on it.
MR. HARDIN: Good afternoon. My name is John Hardin, and I'm a pork producer from central Indiana. For the last 30 years I've owned and operated a diversified crop and livestock operation in close proximity to numerous suburban neighbors. Over the years I've grown this operation to provide opportunities for my family members and other young people in the community to join me in agricultural production just like I joined my father years ago.
I've read with interest the draft strategy, and agree with the efforts by this administration to review and redraft policies, guidance and rules calling for continued protection of our precious ground and surface water. And thank you for giving those of us who will be most impacted by these efforts an opportunity to give feedback on our common sense thoughts.
The strategy adds a number of cost considerations to both regulators and the regulated. New and varying certification standards are proposed which will cost me hundreds of dollars to hire consultants for nutrient plan, which I accept. You then want additional compliance staff to review and check these plans, a function already in effect through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. You call for voluntary plans for those that are smaller than my operation. Let me assure you, unless you're willing to pay for their development, the economics of the pork industry currently do not allow for expenditures such as this. I trust our government regulatory system was not founded on the assumption of putting small family farms out of business due to the inability to produce a plan. I for one do not want to see wasteful, repetitive spending by our federal government. To duplicate efforts already being adequately addressed on the state level.
Let me qualify this position with one concern. We do need national minimum standards of environmental compliance. In Indiana we know that we have to meet more stringent standards as a result of coming changes in state regulations. It would be very unfair to Indiana producers to compete with pork producers from states where there is little or no meaningful environmental regulation. Let me tell you that my requirement account is the land I own. And I don't want to do anything to reduce its value. And I believe I'm a professional in the way I manage my land assets through conservation and the value to assets effects of pork production. It only makes sense to add value to my corn, bean through hogs, while recycling organic nutrients and offsetting additional commercial inputs to the land.
We supply about half the fertilizer needs on our farm from our pig manure. And I believe any future plan needs to be land based, or have some way to use that manure properly. We have done a number of things like injection, which help us get along with our neighbors. And we have gone through environmental training and gone to real efforts to be certified and have my employees be the same. I believe I act responsibly with my neighbors, considerate of them, yet knowledgeable- (end of time)
MR. BEASLEY: Thank you. My name is John Beasley. I'm an environmental attorney from Dayton, Ohio. First of all, this plan as several speakers have mentioned, and as I think the moderators have agreed with, is not a comprehensive plan, nor is it intended to. However, a lot of the tone of the plan suggests that it is intended to be comprehensive. I would suggest as a drafting step that the title be changed to be a unified national strategy for surface water impacts from animal feeding operations because that is essentially what this plan is.
The comprehensive suggestions in the plan are, which I think lead to some false assurance that the plan is comprehensive. For example, in Section 3.3, manure handling and storage, it's mentioned that manure and waste water handling and storage practices should also consider odor and other environmental and public health problems. Well, if you're not going to regulate those, don't suggest that they are going to be considered or can be considered in this plan.
Secondly, this is primarily a voluntary plan. We've known all along in the environmental industry, and environmental law, that environmental programs work with some folks and with some folks they just don't. Environmental programs are weak, and environmental programs that will lead to problems. At a minimum, the EPA could suggest a general permit for all AFOs and CAFOs regardless of size as simply a first step to identify them, and then determine if more regulation is necessary, similar to the storm water program.
Air issues. In common parlance, a lot of these poultry barns are referred to as turbo barns because of the large propellers that emit air pollution. There is no coverage of that in the plan. But there is concern with VOCs, screenhouse gases, methane, ammonia, and particulates which include manure dust. I only have a minute so I'll skip to a couple things.
Right now, in the Clean Water Act in the storm water provisions, there's a huge loophole that's mentioned in Section 4.3 that deals with the land application of manure, and that's a big concern. The MPDS storm water exception for agriculture would generally allow and provide very little enforcement of that area.
Finally, these are factory farms. These are not the mom and pop farms of yesteryears. They ought to be treated as factories. As other speakers have said, they need financial assurance to show not only that they're going to be operated correctly, but that they're going to be closed up correctly if there's a bankruptcy, that they're going to be cleaned up. And finally, this is an environmental justice issue. Oftentimes these are located in rural, poor communities where they have very little say (end of time)
MR. BAISE: Good afternoon. My name is Michael Baise. I'm the director of ag development and natural resources for the Indiana Farm Bureau. I'd like to shorten mine by asking a few questions and making a couple of points. What is the unified national strategy? Is it legal? It was not passed by congress. Is it a rule, is it a regulation? The Federal Register stated that it was not. It has not withstood the rulemaking process. Is it a trial balloon? What is a national performance expectation? Has it been defined? Whose expectation does it represent? Is it something that can be ignored by the industry, or is there also a national enforcement expectation.
The unified national strategy was signed by a USDA official. By what authority does the USDA propose this strategy? It is clear that the Clean Water Act conferred power upon the EPA to regulate point sources, and that confined animal feeding operations are deemed to be point sources. The Clean Water Act does not define the terms CAFO or AFO. Rather, EPA defined both the terms through regulation. Through this strategy, EPA is expanding the definition of CAFO to include operations historically treated as AFOs. To the extent that this can be done lawfully, EPA must go through the formal rule making process. EPA's ability to expand its authority is restricted by the congressional exclusion of agricultural storm water runoff from the point source definition.
There is evidence in the legislative history of the Clean Water Act that congress only intended to control the release of end of pipe affluents from CAFOs. Only those CAFOs which would discharge through a point source outlet would be subject to the MPDS permitting program. This strategy is unlawful to the extent that it seeks to treat runoff from precipitation as a type of discharge that could be regulated under the MPDS program. A facility cannot be determined to be a CAFO simply because storm water runoff from fields where animal wastes have been applied lead to pollutants entering the waters of the United States.
EPA's proposal to condition MPDS permits on the adoption of certain management practices such as the application of manured agronomic grates exceeds their authority. For EPA to include such conditions in MPDS permits would be a circumvention of congress' prohibition against the control of non point sources through direct federal regulations. This point was underscored by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this summer in the (end of time)
MR. MILLER: My name is Joe Miller. I'm the environmental legal advisor and livestock policy specialist with the American Farm Bureau. It's been asserted that the major premise of why we're having this strategy is because of water quality problems. However, in 1996 the EPA itself issued a report to congress, the national water quality inventory report. In that report, EPA's numbers show that less than two percent of the waters of the United States are major effect, have major effect by livestock operations. To bring in over 300,000 operations under a regulation because of less than 2 percent of the water quality problem is unconscionable.
Also, the EPA in this definition is changing the definition of a CAFO. It was stated earlier here today, it's stated in the draft strategy that a CAFO has 1,000 animal units or more. However, that very same regulation goes on to say that no animal feeding operation is a concentrated animal feeding operation as defined above if that feeding operation discharges only in the event of a 25-year 24-hour storm event. I would strongly encourage EPA to go back, re-read their own regulation, and make clear to producers what a CAFO is. It does not mean a thousand animal units because this exception excludes the majority of the CAFOs. You must have a discharge.
Also, it is well known and well accepted that regulations cost money to implement. Small farmers and medium size farmers have less animals to spread this cost. Each regulation you put out has cost involved with it by paper work, time involved implementing that strategy. If I've got less animals to spread that cost over, then my profit margins go down. Right at the present time we have record low commodity prices. This strategy is just another regulations that's going to speed up and accelerate the demise of the small and medium size farmers in this country. We cannot afford to do that.
In 1995 congress passed a Freedom to Farm Act. We were promised at that time for regulatory reform, among other things. Since that time, all we've had, additional regulations. We've gotten part of what was promised. No price supports, and record low commodity prices. We have not got the other parts that we were promised by congress at that time. Thank you for your time.
MR. METHOD: Thank you. My name is Tim Method. I'm with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. I'd just like to make a few points from our perspective on the basic approach of the strategy. We believe that guiding principles of EPA and the Department of Agriculture appear sound, and we share commitment to those principles. In Indiana we think we've got a strong confined feeding program. We've got a law since 1971 that has recently been updated. We're now taking initiative to establish rules to update and upgrade our confined feeding standards, and hopefully do so in a way that makes sense in Indiana and to address our own specific water quality problems.
Our program issues approvals that do not allow discharges. The approval now requires design construction, location standards, in addition to most of the elements that are contained in the draft comprehensive nutrient management plan strategy. We've not relied on national pollution discharge elimination system permits to implement our program. And we have some major concerns. We have relied upon this permit system to run our state program.
Individual MPS programs, they're effective tools of major dischargers. They're not created to provide structure for public input into a detailed document which describes the standards of monitoring and record keeping required of a discharging facility, but confined feeding operations are not major dischargers, and best management practices, etc. are better, MEPS, etc. may not lend themselves well to those types of industry permits. Similarly, general MPS permits for our purposes are probably too general and are not a good substitute for existing Indiana program.
So in general, the purpose of a strategy, emphasis on voluntary actions and technical assistance, and the recognition that larger operations need specific oversight makes sense. Our recommendations are to establish guidance to the states along the lines of a draft strategy, review state programs relative to the national guidance, and approve state programs that produce proper balance and environmental protection. The state programs may or may not include use of national pollution discharge and operations that directly discharge or have discharge in the past would obtain an MPS permit as currently required.
As EPA and Department of Agriculture moves forward, as looking at the federal role, it is more keep in mind that one size fit all approach or strategy is not needed. The issue is water quality. The state has the primary role in developing comprehensive strategies to protect water quality, and for those states that have effectively addressed confined feeding operations into those strategies, the federal regulatory role should be minimal. The specter of federal officials walking onto farms and forcing specific manure handling and application practices does not make too much sense unless a local and state officials, and efforts have not been proven effective.
MR. MAPLE: My name is Steve Maple. I'm an operator of a family farm in the middle part of Indiana, Miami County, Indiana. The unified national strategy for animal feeding operations used as a primary justification water quality information collected as part of the USEPA's national water quality inventory. The national quality inventory contains bias, non-random data samples, and is meaningless to the basis of policy action. A better policy approach for regulation of livestock feeding operations would be to determine those areas of the nation that are truly water quality problems related to livestock. This would be much preferred over crafting additional livestock regulations for the entire country.
Research done by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service indicates livestock manures are valuable resource that could replace or supplement inorganic plant nutrients. The research also indicates that 107 counties in the nation, more than 3,000 counties fall in the category of having manure phosphates in excess of plant uptake. It also finds that only 35 counties have excess nitrogen. If livestock manure is a problem in a particular county, then the watershed affected by the problem in appropriate geographic location for correction approach.
As stated earlier, however, those watersheds should be carefully targeted for regulatory action. That is, don't impose regulatory action on livestock operations in Indiana because of a poultry manure problem in Maryland, or a lagoon spill in North Carolina.
We applaud the research and innovations efforts mentioned in this strategy. We believe that technology should be fostered and is critical to healthy, well developed animal livestock industry. However, we find it perplexing that the strategy is charging ahead with a significant expansion of regulatory authority before research is initiated and compiled. We think that smacks of shoot first, get facts later regulatory approach of government. By increasing the environmental regulations of the US livestock industry, this strategy will be contributing to the industrialization of the US livestock industry.
Historically the midwest agricultural operations have been smaller family owned and operated farms. Livestock was a complement to raising food and feed grains. It was a way to spread risk and provide income. Large livestock feeding operations have volume to spread all the costs, including regulatory costs. Smaller operations will not be marginally affordable to continue operations. This may not be the intent of the EPA or USDA. If so, we think another, it is another regrettable action by federal government. If that is the intended consequence, we find that to be an outrage. Thank you.
MR. TARNOWSKI: I'm Jim Tarnowski from the Indiana Campaign for Family Farms. I own and operate and live on a small farm in Indiana. For the last few years we have been working with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to come up with some rules dealing with CAFOs, and I've grown to understand why Indiana Department of Environmental Management doesn't use the word protection in their title. The EPA does have the word protection and we look to that word protection, which means not response to but prevent in our minds hopefully.
We looked at the strategy would include stronger language for restrictions on environmental or CAFOs in environmentally sensitive areas such as ours, flood plains and highly permeable and open aquifer areas. This is certainly a concern for rural people all over the Indiana since ground water is a major source of our water. We'd like to see a kind of a guarantee that the ground water would also be included in the protection here.
Spray irrigation should be eliminated. I think this strategy should work towards that goal. And finally, being brief, which is unusual for me, the leadership of quality strategy should include environmental leadership. I know you brought in producers, and you brought in government and you brought in state, but you certainly seem to have ignored the fact that there are a lot of people whose only voice is through the environmental aspects of the concerns that we have. We live on this land. We live out there and we have to put with CAFOs. I live a half mile from a large CAFO, and I can't really put the blame on because I didn't go through the tests dealing with DNA or E-coli in my well water. But I did have 70 parts per million nitrates in a shallow well. And I know that all the neighbors that live down my street have had incidents of health problems which we believe is due to the water. So we look to the EPA for protection. We hope that this program, and I appreciate the USDA. But hopefully this is not going to be a just a USDA program, will protect all of us. Thank you.
MR. REIS: Good afternoon. My name is David Reis. I'm a pork producer and a fifth generation family farmer from St. Elmore, Illinois. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today on behalf of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. A year ago the America's Clean Water Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the USDA and the National Pork Producers Council completed an unprecedented dialogue which produced a comprehensive framework of regulatory guidelines and recommendations to ensure an environmentally friendly and sustainable pork industry. We applaud the work that went into this project and encourage the EPA and the USDA to use this dialogue as a guide in developing the final version of its strategy.
In addition to the policy recommendations contained in the dialogue, MPBS has developed many innovative producer and educational and research programs that put the technical resources and know how in the hands of the producers at the farm level where they are needed most. One example is the on farm odors environmental assistance program which provides a detailed environmental assessment of the overall odor and water quality management practices of a producer's farm. This protocol was produced by producers, private industry engineers, and consultants, as well as engineers and other specialists from the USDA's NRCS and cooperative extension services. The protocol has been extensively pilot tested under the supervision of a reputable independent third party verification firm. Trained, tested and certified teams conduct the actual assessments through an on farm visit and identify water quality and/or for odor risks that exists. This gives the producer objective suggestions as to what environmental issues need to be addressed.
It is encouraging to note that the EPA has evaluated this assessment protocol and has found it to be a credible and substantial program that will result in real improvement in the environmental performance of a participating farm. In fact the EPA believes so strongly in the program that it has agreed to provide an additional incentive for producers to participate through the compliance audit program or CAP. We believe that this is an excellent example of how producers and the regulatory agencies can work cooperatively to protect the environment.
Secondly, the pork industry has developed a continuing educational program called the environment assurance program, which we think will fulfill a substantial part of the manure management plan strategy. I'm going to skip down.
Finally, we would like to indicate our support for the EPA and USDA efforts to increase the levels and types of cost care assistance available to producers for environmental management improvements. We strongly believe that additional research needs to be funded and conducted in those areas where science has not yet proved answers or explanations, including the factors influencing odor production and distribution, phosphorous, soil holding capacity, and water quality impairment. Decisions must be made on sound science and factual research, and not on emotions and out of date newspaper clippings.
In summary, we realize that pollution by any producer is unacceptable. Pork producers have made serious commitment to the protection of our nation's air and water while attempting to preserve the economical viability of our industry. We support environmental efforts that are sensible, achievable, and reflect various production systems of today.
MR. SCHOETTMER: My name is Keith Schoettmer. We're a family owned pork producing operation in Tipton County. Appreciate the opportunity to take a couple minutes to visit with you today. We in the pork producing community have accepted in a lot of areas we agree with the fact that we're going to have a lot more regulations in our operations. This is a fact. This has been a challenging process for many of us in the business of raising pork, as we go beyond the old notion of simply trying to do what is best for our farms, our families and our communities. And yes, the environment that we also live in. But nonetheless, the increased regulations do present some challenges and some concerns to us.
One of the biggest challenges is figuring out what agency, which set of rules, which standards we are responsible for. It seems we hear something different every day. A prime example of this is the nutrient management plans. It is in our best interest as farmers to put agronomic rate manure on our fields, and my fellow producers and myself are doing this. We have already filed a manure management plan with IDEM, and our manure is tested to establish the proper rates to apply to which fields, which are also tested for their nutrient needs. Seems like ought to have it covered. But now we're made aware that we will have comply with the comprehensive nutrient management plan.
I understand that this plan is voluntary in nature, but the fact remains that the majority of us will have over a thousand animal units. Isn't this a duplication of what we're already doing? Which one will come first, and if I'm out of compliance am I subject to both authorities?
The two plans do seem to differ in some ways, and we do appreciate that the CNMP does have a site specific clause in it. Soil differs greatly from area to area, and even field to field, and agronomic rates will vary greatly. But what good is having the flexibility if the state comes along and writes prescriptive rules?
Another concern is which agency of the government will actually be responsible for oversight and invocation of the CNMP? Is that the EPA, the NRCS, or would we still create another bureaucracy to deal with? Are our plans and records going to be made completely public? There are still many, many unanswered questions. Common sense says you should have these questions answered to convince the farmers of the value of the benefits of regulations, and they don't understand yet. Does this all seem a little bit confusing? Well, it is. And that's my whole point.
We as pork producers are willing to keep records, we're willing to test our manure, we're willing to test our soils, and we're more than willing and ready to do the best possible job with our nutrient management. All that we really ask for, besides being reasonable, is one standard and one set of records, and one agency to report to. Thank you.
MR. FERGUSON: My name is David Ferguson. I'm from southern Indiana. I'm a pork producer. And I'd like to thank you for letting me speak. But to be honest, I wish I wasn't here, had to be here to do what my family's been doing for as long we can go back in our family history. But what concerns me the most is we have to-is on your proposal is we have to reapply every five years as has been suggested, and go through public notice. Right now I'm going through that right now with a 1200 sow pro feeder pig, and what I've had to go through and the expenses to go through that has been pretty substantial. And the thought of having to go through that every five years no matter if I'm a good steward or have no problems at all can really take its toll on the family and everyone involved. That is one of my main concerns.
And the other one would be is to listen to everything, my comments are more going to be directed at the pig industry. I do have 60 head of beef cattle and there are some concerns there. But to listen to everything that's been said, you would think that the pork production, manure output would be just tremendous. But according to the statistics I've read, 12 to 15 percent of all animal manure generated comes from pigs. And to hear everything that's talked about today, you would think it was a lot more than that.
And another thing that is very discouraging as a pork producer, you try to be as up forth and do as much as you can, and for another example for every pound of nitrogen produced, two pounds of nitrogen is piped into the rivers and streams by our treatment facilities. To me, we have zero discharge. And I just think that we should focus our efforts on other issues rather than on us. I mean it's just very discouraging. I've had to spend $30,000 on lawyer fees just to get my first permit through. And to do that again for the second, or in five years as proposed, financially I don't see how I could keep doing that every year. Thank you.
MR. SMILEY: Gordon Smiley, Decatur County, pork producer. You guys think you need to stand up, you going to be all right for a little bit more. I have a question for the committee as you sit there. How many of the committee has been on an AFO in the last y ear? Boy, that's a lot better percentage. I went to the state. We went to the IDEM last spring and I asked that question of the people that was making the rules and regulations, and the hands that come up there was less than it was or more of you-you have more there than there was the 20, 25 people for the task force, and I compliment you for at least being there.
From our side of it, I think we appreciate the fact you've been there, and you've seen what we're trying to deal with. One of the things that really, that I feel good about was the, with the national pork producers, is doing with EPA as far as this task force thing, going together, looking about the air quality. I think this is a good move. As a pork producer I like this. Come check me. And then that limits some of our liabilities. I hope that maybe even carry that a little farther is the fact if we do have a complaint down the road from a neighbor or something that is trying to stop an expansion of an operation, that you can look on that as saying, hey, we've already done, went through these hoops, we've been checked. I think this is a good idea, and it's just kind of a rules and regulations thing that's really good for us.
Many of the people have talked about the zero discharge that we have to put up with and the other industries don't necessarily have that, municipalities and whatever. I think that's an inequity that needs to be corrected. I know that there's tests out there that you can tell the difference between E-coli problem as far as humans and as far as animals. If you guys want to be specific, let's find out in that water and let's be specific. If there's a problem, we got a problem. If we don't, don't put it on. Let's just use our common sense and be frank about it. If we've got a problem I think we need to face up to it.
Also, the pork producer, if somebody's got a discharge problem, he's in trouble. I'll support him the first time. But I'm not going to support h im the second time. And I think most producers would do the same thing. I've helped clean up waste that a guy had a problem with. But I told him I wasn't coming back to do it again. And I don't mind him having a big fine. He's got a problem, it's not my problem, and I think that he should be stamped on and be stamped on hard because I don't think that's fair to the rest of the industry. With just a few small apples in here that's causing problems for the rest of us. And I don't think you need to make all these rules and regulations for everybody else because the people are causing problems, there's enough rules on the board right now. I think we could take care of the problem as it is. We're not out here trying to pollute our ground or anything that we're doing because we live there. That's where we make our living. We don't do it intentionally. If we do, we've got bad advice from somebody and we're not intentionally trying to do it. We spread it out and try to make it right.
MR. ZIZAK: My name is Julian Zizak, and I'm from Jefferson County, southern Indiana. I'm a part time farmer. I live on a farm. Our soil is very hilly, rolling hills. In my area we have like mound farm. We have about 60 sinkholes, sinking streams. And I got involved with Indiana Department of Environment Management about two and a half years ago. And the main reason for that was one of the producers from out in my county came in and wanted to put in 2400 sows. To make story short, we fought for two and a half years. In my fight, I didn't have no altercation with my employer because I took up all my time for these evaluations. I purchased and went to Purdue University to buy their handouts to give to the producers. I obtained Indiana Pork Producer quality assurance training, and I received certification as a pork producer. I do things different. The reason I'm saying these things more about my background because I did extensive research. Throughout the records that Indiana Department of Environmental Management holds in their possession. And what that found, I found outrage number of cries for the citizens of not just the southern Indiana, citizens of the state of Indiana, asking for help from IDEM, and they would always refuse to help.
Let me give you an example. In my case, in 1996, we reported this producer wanted to destroy five acres of that land. IDEM was notified. I attend meeting with the governor's office. They seek and they sent people from IDEM workers, wetland protection. The wetland was destroyed, was never punished. We have a pork producer spilling sewage on the state road. That was chemical. That was given to enforcement agency. They never cited the producer. That were many more. Let me give you the last one. CSE and E-coli LeGrange County, four miscarriages. The question I have for you is EPA, who in the state of Indiana is doing random samples around confined feeding operations. The answer is no one. There is no documented case. There is not even today enforcement people going out to verify compliance to their management programs. No one is testing the soil or the water. The soil is contaminated.
Purdue statement a few weeks ago at Indiana meeting, stated that today time it is a 70 percent of testing soil in state of Indiana is overapplied with phosphorous. In 1963 that was only 30 percent. I think everybody that's in this room knows that the trend is going up. Why is no one doing the testing? We here, we need to raise the hogs. Thank you.
MR. HILL: Thank you for the opportunity to make comments today. My name is Richard Hill, and I represent Save the Valley, an environmental organization based in southeastern Indiana and northern Kentucky. As to the USDA EPA draft strategy, we generally applaud regarding principles of Section 1.2 of the strategy. We do believe that the rather, the extended time line for implementation does not serve to achieve guiding principle number 6, which is to foster public confidence that AFOs are meeting their performance expectations and ensuring the protection of water quality and public health. And considering the recent increase of large CAFOs, we think this time line needs to be shortened.
On section 2, which has to do with AFOs and water quality and public health risk, this section points out many of the problems associated with these operations. And without going over each point, we generally agree to the assessment of the water of that section, section 2.2. Also, a national strategy can assist the creating a level playing field for all parties, and it must ensure the protection of water quality, public health. We can look at Indiana's draft, CAFO regulation for example of what kinds of things are not being covered without such national strategies, things like feed management comprehensive nutrient planning, sufficient standards to prevent leakage, manure treatment to reduce air emissions and odors, and land management practices such as buffers to help contain organic materials, nutrients and pathogens.
Now I also as for the NPDES permits, we agree that they should be required of larger operations. And the problematic operations, for the reasons outlined in Section 4.4, the priorities for the regulatory program. The Indiana draft regulations do not distinguish at all between large and small operations, and AFOs and CAFOs in Indiana are not required to obtain NPDES permits. I really need to examine the distinctions that you all, that are in this strategy that point between the voluntary and regulatory programs a little more closely. I think we do have some concerns there, but we'll comment more on those later in writing.We still think that a moratorium on permits for new and expanded factory farms should be instituted until all existing facilities are (end of time)
MS. WHITEHEAD: Good afternoon. My name is Kate Whitehead. My family and I raise hogs and grain in Delaware County, Indiana. We are a third generation family farming operation. And I am here today wearing two hats. Not only am I a pork producer, but I am the immediate past president of the Indiana Pork Producers Association. I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to comment on the draft strategy. Over the past year, I've been spending a great deal of my time on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's confined feeding working group. We've dedicated many hours drafting proposed new rules for confined feeding. This comes immediately on the heels of legislation passed in our 1997 General Assembly, addressing new efforts to ensure water quality in our state and on top of confined feeding guidelines that were updated in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, and most recently in 1997. And by the way, these guidelines have served Indiana well since 1971.
Indiana's confined feeding rules are to be out in 1999, and the strategy perhaps in the year 2000, and the affluent limitation guidelines in 2001, and the drum goes on.
I read in the introduction to the strategy that you recognize a strong livestock industry as essential to the nation's economic stability. The viability of rural communities and sustainability of a healthful and high quality food supply for the American public. You also recognize that farmers or ranchers are primary stewards of our, of many of our nation's resources and have played key roles to improve water quality, and will continue to do so in the future. I commend and thank you for this recognition. However, as I read on through the strategy, a number of issues go through my mind.
And first of all, let me tell you we do live where we raise hogs, and we do own the hogs, and we do utilize our manure, and not afraid to get near it. How will family farming operations like ours who have grown our facilities up through the years and with each successive generations and our full time farmers, who hit the 1,000 animal unit requirement mark be able to survive in the future? I'm not talking about lack of caring about water quality for our environment. I am talking about meeting the increased mounds of paper work, and government bureaucracy that I see generated by this strategy, and all the precursors that I have already mentioned. In the description of strategic issue number one you mentioned that the success of the implementation depends on the availability of specialists to assist in implementation of the CNMPs. For this, this will mean additional, for us this will mean additional expense. While our operation is not, is a size that will fall into your AU requirements for a CAFO, it is not a size of operation that can afford hiring a full time person to fill out the paper work.
Now, do not misinterpret me. We're not opposed to manure management plans. We've been doing those for some time. My concern is that we are not a size to be able to (end of time)
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Good evening. Thank you for letting me speak on behalf of the 75 employees that we have employed in the swine industry. We are strictly pig producers. We raise no crops. We work very closely with our neighbors in a proper manure management program. We bought, we purchase approximately-the total corn production from 40 family farms in our neighborhood. We are environmentally and good neighbor conscious. We work very closely with Dennis and his people at IDM and the state of Indiana. We strongly as a Notre Dame graduate-catch this-we strongly endorse Purdue University in their science and management research in the proper economic environmental management of the byproducts of our swine operations or poultry operations.
Ladies and gentlemen, we respect our environment. We live in this state. We're in the business to make a profit. Heaven forbid, I hope it comes back one of these days. But we're not here to rape the countryside. We are paying taxes, and as taxpayers we want to be able to stay and continue to do that. And we're not here to abuse the environment. We again, I'm repeating myself. We endorse Purdue University to help direct us, and IDEM without over-duplication of the proper way to dispose of our waste. Thank you very much, and merry Christmas, and eat a little extra ham. Thank you.
MR. BUELL: My name is Michael Buell. I'm a fourth generation cattle and hog farmer from west central Indiana. And what I had to say has previously been said by Mrs. White head almost right down the line. And I would add only one thing as an addendum to what she stated, and that is as a producer, if I need a specialist to get through this paper work, then I've got problems because I'm responsible for my operation to adhere to those regulations and make sure that my machinery and my employees are up to snuff. And if I have to have that kind of help just to get through the permit, then I have problems making sure I'm operating the way I should be.
MR. DAGGY: Good evening. My name is Brian Daggy, a staff member with Indiana Farm Bureau, and a farmer from Boone County, Indiana. Farmers are committed to improving water quality, and they care about the perception of their impact on water quality. We're concerned with the overall tone and approach of this proposal to require permits for many US livestock farms. Clearly, the general public is as concerned about the quality of our water resources. We share these concerns, and that is why farmers are voluntarily implementing improvement strategies to improve water quality like buffer strips, and reduced tillage practices.
Recent USDA statistics compiled by NRCS indicate that livestock manure is a water quality issue in only about 115 of the nation's more than 3,000 counties. Prudent use of limited federal resources would suggest focusing on clearly identified problems. Problems do exist, and farmers wants to work with the appropriate level of government to see that water quality problems are addressed. We believe that this particular proposal will drive capital investment in animal agriculture to foreign competitors where greater environmental degradation can take place. An increase in production cost can potentially drive family livestock producers out of business with no assurance of any direct benefit to the environment or water quality.
A strategy does not outline how the regulatory expectations would be enforced. Who would oversee this? EPA personnel, NRCS personnel, state environmental agencies? Where is the funding and qualified personnel coming from? If it is to be done by the states, is this an unfunded mandate? It places farmers in jeopardy of violating overlapping state and federal manure management regulations. Livestock producers are implementing more voluntary environmental measures, keeping new compliance costs on them make them less financially able to adopt voluntary measures. Forcing all livestock operations to adhere to a federal permitting process punishes all livestock producers for problems generated by a few producers.
The cost of implementing this proposal will ensure US livestock operations will be less able to compete against foreign producers. There are already poultry and livestock companies building facilities in Mexico, Canada and Brazil. These companies know that the cost of complying with American environmental regulations is pushing our family livestock producers over the edge. We ask that our government recognize the work that is already being done, and be sensitive to the issue of our international competitors. Thank you.
MR. MOSELEY: Thank you. It seems like technical difficulties are part of my life. My name is Jim Moseley, and I've been requested today on behalf of National Pork Producers Council to represent them at this hearing. The reason for that is I was involved in helping negotiate the national pork dialogue on behalf of NPPC last year.
Many of the concepts contained in the draft language of the unified strategy are mirror images of what the pork dialogue spent almost a year negotiating with various stakeholders. A brief summary of the dialogue, and it's been mentioned before but I'd like to give just a few points and I think might be helpful and enlightening. Public participation procedures for the permitting of new or expanding operations. Management location requirements to meet or to minimize environmental impacts. Standards for design and construction of all new facilities. Nutrient management planning and the development of application plans based on phosphate as well as nitrogen. Preparation of emergency response plans, record keeping, and inspections. Civil and criminal enforcement for the bad actors. And those are the ones that are the repeat violators that shun their environmental responsibility. A variety of forms of financial and technical assistance to assure that the good producers have the resources to do the right things right. And finally, certification of all producers.
I might just embellish this final point for just a moment because it is a point of departure from the draft strategy. It's not that the members of the dialogue wanted to do any harm to smaller producers. But through the analysis of some interesting data as to where the pollution problems might be, we found that where they are they're universal across all sizes of production. The concern is for the long term, that is working diligently to solve the problem and finding that we're still coming up long term short on results. We will then find ourselves again being on the defensive because it's an industry that we didn't achieve the desired result. It was therefore the conclusion of members of the dialogue that we needed to respond as an industry in total. We still believe that it's important but understand the political problems of bringing everyone in the jurisdiction of a strategy.
As I've listened to the items we discussed in the dialogue, I think you can tell that we track with some similarity with the output of the draft strategy. And in that regard, NPPC continues to be available to work with EPA and USDA as you move forward with this strategy. It is the view of NPPC that we have much to gain by working with you and much to lose by not.
In summary, while NPPC can find things about the strategy that we would not agree with, and you're going to hear about those things, we think that it does in a significant way support the important things that we agreed to as we spent a year in negotiations with the pork dialogue. Thank you.
MR. GRADDY: Good evening. My name is Hank Graddy. I'm an attorney from Midway, Kentucky, and I'm here on behalf of the Sierra Club, specifically the Cumberland chapter, the Kentucky chapter of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club has recognized recently that water quality issues relating to concentrated animal feeding operations are one of the nation's most critical environmental protection needs. It is an area where their organization has increased its focus along with many other rural communities, environmental organizations, and family farm organizations. I want to make a couple comments about the unified national strategy for AFOs, which we have acronymed at least temporarily as UNSAFOs.
Number one. Open air manure cesspools for factory farms and spraying manure and urine into the air should be banned for CAFOs. Environmental friendly farming systems should be encouraged. This is one of the recommendations of the Clean Water Network, which the Sierra Club is a part of, and we strongly agree that what is wrong-one of the things that is wrong with this strategy is that it does not recognize the need to phase out failed technology, and phase in good technology.
The Clean Water Act mandated this approach many years ago, 25 years ago. It began a process so called of technology forcing. And what is implied by the technology forcing aspect of the Clean Water Act is that when we learn that technology does not work, and we recognize that and put in place mechanisms to phase it out.
Secondly, EPA and USDA should be commended for recognizing that the off farm aspects that is where the litter or manure goes when it leaves the place where it's generated is part of the Clean Water Act permitting process. EPA has recognized that in the area of bio solids or sludge, and similarly we need to extend Clean Water Act permits to the ultimate fate of the manure or the sludge or the litter is an appropriate decision the EPA and USDA have made, and they should be commended. Unfortunately, this plan lacks specifics. It doesn't clearly state that phosphorous and nitrogen must be looked at equally to determine which one is the limiting pollutant.
The nation's waters must be protected from poultry manure. EPA strongly supports the Clean Water Network position on this. We recognize that this text moves cautiously in the direction, it is weaker frankly than the draft, EPA strategy last March. It seems to waffle a little bit. But it at least recognizes that poultry whether dry litter or wet litter is a water quality issue, and that is a step in the right direction.
Finally, a deficiency of this strategy is its woeful failure to recognize the responsibility of the animal owner. Today we've heard from a lot of people who apparently own their own pigs. But the trend in agriculture seems to be, at least what we see in Kentucky and elsewhere, that the hog operator or the chicken operator is using (end of time)
MS. PATTEN: Good evening. I'm Susan Patten. I'm the midwest regional vice president for the Sierra Club. I'm also a registered nurse for the Environmental and Community Health Organization. In January I will begin a community health assessment process for the fishermen and their families that have been affected by the neurotoxic donaflagelant listera. This organism has been directly related to hog operations in North Carolina, and the overloading of nutrients into the Neuse River and the Pamlico Bay estuary waters.
The public health issues related to CAFOs have not been adequately addressed in the unified strategy document. It is not a comprehensive plan. The Sierra Club continues to support strongly the call on USEPA and USDA to put in place a nationwide moratorium on new and extended swine and poultry CAFOs until we have effective solutions to the problems caused by the existing CAFOs. The draft is deficient for failure to recognize that the first step in real problem solving is the step to prevent the problem from getting worse.
This is not a new call. The Sierra Club first called for this moratorium at the 1997 Sierra Club Big River Clean Water Week in 1997. In July 1997, the governor of Kentucky issued an executive order that stopped the processing of any swine waste permit until newer and more effective controls were in place. The North Carolina legislators adopted a statewide moratorium which was extended in October 1998. The Oklahoma legislature adopted a moratorium until passage of stronger controls in that state. Other states have recognized the need for a moratorium.
The USDA, EPA UNSAFO fails to affirm the important role of citizens. Unless this failure is corrected, this strategy is doomed to failure. Congress decided in 1972 that the public had a role in development and enforcement of Clean Water Act requirements, and affirmed this decision in the opening section of that act. UNSAFO is grossly derelict in this regard. The public is completely left out of the process. The continued and unfortunate support for general permits is but one example of this failure.
Whenever we are facing a serious environmental problem and we're not sure we know the answer, a moratorium to prevent the problem from getting worse while we try to figure out the best solution is the only sensible way to try to solve the problem. Thank you.
CERTIFICATE OF REPORTER
I, Delores Hampton, do hereby certify that the foregoing 89 pages of typewritten transcription constitute a true and complete transcription of my stenotype notes as taken at the Public Listening Session of the Draft USDA/EPA Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations on December 10, 1998.
(signed) Delores Hampton