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Beef Buzz News

NCBA Keeps Up Pressure On EPA Over Proposed CAFO Rule

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 14:45:48 CST

NCBA Keeps Up Pressure On EPA Over Proposed CAFO Rule The comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule that would require all Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations to submit operational information has closed, but not before the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association weighed in.

Ashley Lyon, the deputy environmental counsel for the NCBA said her organization’s members opposed the proposed rule on two grounds.

“One of which is that they are beyond their authority,” she said. “The EPA has gone beyond their Clean Water Act authority in requiring this information from all CAFOs across the country instead of following what the Fifth Circuit said last March that the EPA and the Clean Water Act only have authority over CAFOs that actually discharge and it goes no further than that.”

While legal and Constitutional issues are huge, Lyon said NCBA members have more immediate concerns.

“Probably the biggest concern for our owners and operators is the privacy issue and that the information they are requesting and requiring of these owners and operators like the latitude and longitude of the production area, the number of acres available for manure application, number and type of head.

“Those kind of things are very sensitive in nature and having the production area alone in an electronic data base on EPA’s website that is searchable, easily searchable across the globe, only increases our chances of environmental activist attacks here at home, terrorist attacks from home and abroad.”

Lyon said those are not isolated concerns and they are not limited solely to the EPA.

“That is something that other departments in the administration have recognized and brought up to EPA,” she said.

Despite the fact that other agencies have intervened, Lyon said the EPA appears ready to move forward with their broad mandate.

“We see them not relenting on their push to get information from all CAFOs across the country, but we hope with our comments that they are further enlightened about the real risks to our operations and our producers by requiring this laundry list of information and posting it on their website.”

Lyon was not hopeful that a legislative solution could be found to this problem. She said that it is extremely difficult in an election year to get support for this type of problem. Despite that, she said the NCBA is doing everything it can to persuade the EPA that requiring this information from all CAFOs is counterproductive.

“We are hoping, really working with the administration to just show them just exactly what kind of risks they are increasing. Homeland Security has weighed in on this issue and we’re hoping that that goes far with the agency in pulling back this rule.”


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