The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week announced its intentions to strengthen existing regulations on concentrated animal feeding operations as part of its effort to address water-quality concerns in the Chesapeake Bay.
In May 2009 President Obama called on the federal government to take significant action to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including tightening regulation of manure runoff from farms. At the same time, EPA and environmental activists have reached a partial settlement of environmentalist issues in ongoing litigation of the CAFO rule filed by NPPC.
The terms of that settlement have not yet been disclosed, but EPA has announced a two-year rulemaking for development of new municipal storm water permitting regulations and a three-year timeframe to develop new CAFO permitting rules. EPA has signaled its desire for those rules to include a dramatic expansion in the number of operations deemed to be CAFOs, picking up many smaller farms, as well as new restrictions on field application of manure and the ability to transfer manure for application on unpermitted property.