The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week denied a petition from Waterkeeper Alliance and dozens of environmental and community advocacy groups to adopt a rebuttable presumption that large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) using wet manure management systems actually discharge water pollution and, thus, must obtain discharge permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
In response to petitoners’ efforts, EPA committed to conducting a system-wide evaluation of its CWA permitting program for CAFOs, including large CAFOs that use wet manure management systems. EPA credited the petition with making “an extremely compelling case for the need to holistically evaluate and improve EPA’s CAFO program.”
Patience Burke, Pure Farms, Pure Waters Campaign Manager for Waterkeeper Alliance, reacted with the following statement:
“Chronic failure to mitigate pollution from animal factories, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), is devastating to our nation’s waterways and lowering the quality of life in our communities. While we are disappointed that EPA did not grant our petition, we agree that EPA’s CAFO program is well overdue for a holistic evaluation and look forward to being a part of that process.”