EPA proposal similar to Md. law

March 02, 2001|By Heather Dewar | Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF

The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing ahead with plans to require the nation's largest poultry, pig and cattle feedlots to get permits controlling the way they get rid of the animals' waste, though it is not clear whether the new administration will go along with the proposal.

The EPA's proposal, which would require 5 percent to 7 percent of the nation's 365,000 animal farms to get permits under the Clean Water Act, is similar to regulations in effect in Maryland.

State officials say nationwide regulations on the disposal of animal manure would help Maryland poultry growers because growers elsewhere would face roughly similar requirements and costs.

Animal manure contributes to water pollution, supplying bacteria, metals and nutrients that cause algae blooms. In North Carolina and on the Eastern Shore, manure runoff has been linked to outbreaks of the toxic microorganism Pfiesteria.

The federal regulation, drafted during the tenure of former EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner, would require the biggest livestock growers to keep the waste away from rivers, streams and lakes.

It would also require large meat companies that contract with the growers to share responsibility for the manure.

The EPA is seeking public comment through May 14.

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