General Swine Permit Renewal: Submit Comments by Dec 7th!

The background:

  • A state “general permit” determines how most of the 9.5 billion gallons of waste from  North Carolina’s nearly 10 million hogs is handled.
  • That state permit is being revised and renewed for a new five-year term  
  • A civil rights case Waterkeeper Alliance and other environmental groups settled with the state informed proposals in the draft permit.

Why this is important:

  • Waste is kept in unlined open cesspools, and sprayed on nearby cropland. The risk: Flooding, hazardous air emissions, and groundwater and surface water contamination.
  • In almost half the areas with the highest density of swine operations, 85 percent of neighbors depend on well water.
  • No publicly available records show when or how much waste is sprayed, what types of crops are receiving the waste, and if crops can absorb nutrients in that waste.
  • Industrial swine operations are concentrated in communities of color.
  • The North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation, over Gov. Cooper’s veto, limiting the property rights and legal remedies for neighbors harmed by swine operations.

The process:

The big picture of what we’re asking for:

  • Smithfield Foods, the multinational company that makes hundreds of millions off this industry, and other corporations that contract with North Carolina operations for swine production, should have responsibility for managing the waste produced by the animals they own.
  • The NC Department of Environmental Quality needs to either collect or require the collection of data required to assess hog waste pollution on a large-scale basis.

Specific asks:

  • Mandatory groundwater monitoring when there’s evidence of off-site impacts
  • Required use by swine operators of a formula, which was created at great taxpayer expense, to evaluate the risk of phosphorus pollution when animal waste is applied to cropland.
  • Monthly electronic submission of reports on records of land application of waste, cropping, stocking, and soil or lagoon sampling.

What we’re asking you to do:

  • Submit a comment! https://actionnetwork.org/letters/raise-a-stink-about-north-carolinas-hog-waste-crisis
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Spread the word on social media

 

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