EPA Demanding CAFO Data - Now!

Despite a lack of legal authority to do so, the agency may soon be demanding sensitive information from large animal operations.

EPA is telling Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations if they do not respond fully and truthfully to EPA's Section 308 information and data request, they may be subject to civil penalties or criminal fines imposed by EPA.

This is part of the Obama Administration's regulatory war (10,215 new regulations and counting) on American businesses and farmers costing over $46 billion annually according to the Heritage Foundation.

 EPA knows, from its own record created during 2008, that rarely are there any discharges of manure into waters of the United States from a CAFO which require a Clean Water Act NPDES permit.

EPA started this debate when it voluntarily entered into a legal settlement agreement with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance to resolve claims in a case brought by the pork producers against EPA, which was won by the pork producers. The agreement requires EPA to propose a regulation which must be finalized by July 13, 2012.  EPA willingly agreed with environmental groups to promulgate a regulation to require the following information from CAFOs:

 

  1. Name and address of owner.
  2. Longitude and latitude of operation.
  3. Quantity of manure generated annually.
  4. Available acreage for land application.
  5. Name and address of integrator.
  6. Type of facility.
  7. Does the CAFO land apply manure
  8. If land application, is there a Nutrient Management Plan.
  9. If land application, are records kept.

10.  If manure transferred offsite, quantity transferred and recipient.

11.  If no land application, identify alternative uses of manure and whether the CAFO has ever applied for an NPDES permit.

EPA is jumping the gun! No regulation has been put into effect yet!

Incredibly, without a regulation and relying on CWA Section 308, EPA is now sending letters to CAFOs demanding that CAFO operators provide 17 categories of data and information, which appears to be unlawful and may violate both the 4th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution of the United States. EPA and the states issue no discharge permits to CAFOs.

EPA clearly wants to create a national registry for CAFOs. Such a registry will give a precise location of livestock and poultry farms and clearly will aid and abet violations of safety and security of farming operations. Also, EPA wants to control the nutrients and crops farmers plant!

Just this past December, 14 cattle trucks belonging to the Harris Feed Lots in California were fire bombed, and an animal activist group claimed credit for the act.

In a North Carolina demand letter pursuant to Section 308 of the Clean Water Act, EPA threatens CAFO operators with criminal fines if they do not answer fully as determined by EPA the information request that all CAFOs will probably be receiving.

The following information is demanded from North Carolina producers and the information to be provided starts from January 1, 2011.

  1. Legal name and location of CAFO;
  2. Legal owner of CAFO, mailing address and telephone number;
  3. Identify the person responsible and the person's responsibilities for operating and maintaining the facility plus mailing address and telephone number;
  4. Describe the type and size of animal operation including the number and types of animals at the CAFO;
  5. Identify all of your local, state and federal permits;
  6. Provide a map of the CAFO with its property boundaries, confinement areas, management areas, waste storage, all land application fields, and all water bodies or wetlands located within 1 mile of the facility;
  7. Identify the crops for each field as well as your nutrient application rate;
  8. Submit a record of the crops you planted and harvested plus the days on which you planted and harvested;
  9. Provide a record of the days you land applied, identify the field, the date of application, and the amount of manure applied to each field;

10.  Provide copies of any soil test conducted after January 1, 2011, to the present;

11.  Provide to EPA the CAFO maintenance records, annual reports, daily rainfall logs, waste transfer records, well water sampling results, or any other document required by a CAFO Nutrient Management Plan; 

12.  Provide copies of any documents or correspondence the CAFO may have had with the state of North Carolina;

13.  Provide a notice of any violation or similar document;

14.  Provide copies of any formal or informal agreement regarding the operation of the CAFO but not limited to contracts, leases or operating agreements;

15.  Copies of all plans concerning operation and maintenance of the CAFO;

16.  Advise EPA as to any stormwater controls used by the CAFO to prevent manure from entering any stream, creek, wetlands or other waters surrounding the CAFO; and

17.  EPA seeks to force you to describe any release or discharge of pollutants from the CAFO that might go into streams, creeks, wetlands or other water bodies around the CAFO plus you must include the date of the runoff, weather conditions at the time of release, cause of the release, the volume of the release, and identify the water bodies impacted by the release (Big Brother is HERE!)

You have a new partner in operating your CAFO and you do not even discharge into a water of the United States. A CAFO owner or operator must submit all of this information within 30 days of receipt of EPA's demand letter!

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