The National Pork Producers Council last week filed a request with the Environmental Protection Agency for a 60-day extension to the comment period on EPA’s proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) Reporting Rule to Feb. 20, 2012. Currently the deadline is Dec. 20.
The proposal, which was published Oct. 21, with a 60-day comment period, would require CAFOs to submit to EPA operational information so it "can more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health."
It was agreed to by EPA in a sweetheart settlement with activist groups and is designed to undermine NPPC’s victory in the CAFO rule litigation. Under the proposal, EPA will impose a duty to report information, including basic facility facts such as contact information, location of a CAFO’s production area, permit status, the number and type of animals confined and the number of acres available for land application of manure.
The information would be compiled and placed in a database for use by activists. NPPC is concerned that producers will incur substantial legal liability and compiling the information in one place could risk their operations' bio-security and privacy under the rule. Furthermore, NPPC believe the rule provides little or no added benefit to improving manure management or protecting water.
With regard to the comment period extension, NPPC believes that because producers were in the fields for harvest for much of the original comment period, 60 days is not sufficient for them to comment.
Read more information about the proposal.