Waterkeeper Alliance Calls on NCDEQ To Listen to Public Input, Protect Communities During 2024 General Permitting Process - Waterkeeper

Waterkeeper Alliance Calls on NCDEQ To Listen to Public Input, Protect Communities During 2024 General Permitting Process

By: Waterkeeper Alliance

Photo Credit: C.Lotongkum, Shutterstock

Waterkeeper Alliance & Partners Will Host the “People’s Hearing” to Increase Access to Public Participation & Ensure that the Final General Permit Reflects Local Calls to Crack Down on Pollution from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Today, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) released its draft 2024 General Permits for industrial swine, poultry, and dairy concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), including those with risky, unsustainable waste digester systems. These permits will govern the treatment, storage, and disposal of vast quantities of animal manure and other waste generated at these highly polluting industrialized facilities, and are supposed to contain a set of standards to prevent pollution at the vast majority of the more than two thousand industrial hog operations in the state.

In response Larry Baldwin, North Carolina Pure Farms Pure Waters Campaign Coordinator for Waterkeeper Alliance, released the following statement:

“The draft General Permits for swine, poultry, and dairy operations presents an opportunity to hold polluters accountable so that industrial operators are no longer given free rein to release dangerous contaminants into our ecosystems, continue to store manure in hazardous open cesspools, and spray untreated animal waste into the air and onto lands across the state. We urge North Carolinians to participate in the public comment period and tell NCDEQ to crack down on CAFOs that are proven to pollute rivers and streams, contaminate groundwater and drinking water wells, poison the air, and destroy quality of life for nearby families, a disproportionate share of whom are Black, Latino, and Native American. We call on NCDEQ to ensure that the final draft of the permits reflect the public input received and finally include long needed standards adequate to protect people and our water resources from this dangerous pollution.” 

Following the release of the draft, Waterkeeper Alliance will host “The People’s Tour” from September 10th through the 22nd in an effort to get the message out to impacted communities who have historically faced more barriers to entry when it comes to public participation and hearings on these matters. The “People’s Hearing” will take place on September 16th where participants will receive educational materials on the General Permit and an opportunity to submit written comments to be presented at the State’s public hearing.

For details about The People’s Tour, please contact Larry Baldwin.