Sunday, November 3, 2013

Judicial and regulatory news

Via the MD Farm Bureau:

Two recent developments that could have impact on horse farmers -

1. A West Virginia poultry farmer prevailed in a court case brought by the EPA and some environmental groups that would have required them to obtain a Clean Water Act permit on the basis of runoff from their farmyard area.
"The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants from "point sources" of pollution to navigable waters (which are loosely defined to include many wetlands and tributaries adjacent to waters that are actually navigable). Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are defined as point sources under the Clean Water Act. However, the Clean Water Act specifically exempts "agricultural stormwater runoff" from the definition of point sources of pollution.  . . .
Chief Judge John Preston Bailey of the District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia held that ventilation fan exhaust (dust, feathers, manure, and dander) that landed in the farmyard and ran off during precipitation events is agricultural stormwater runoff, which does not require a permit under the Clean Water Act." John Dillard,
This ruling was based on the fact that "only the portions of the operation where animals are confined, where litter or manure is stored, where the raw materials are stored and waste containment areas are the “production area,” ("production areas" do require Clean Water Act permits). However, dust from ventilation fans that lands on other parts of the operation and runs off during precipitation is not subject to the permit requirement.

2. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has re-submitted the proposal to update the phosphorus measurement portion of nutrient management plans.  Under the proposed regulation, the P-Site Index will be replaced with the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT), which is designed to be more sensitive to the potential for P to move off of farmland. The new regulation, if adopted, could be more restrictive of the use of phosphorus in fertilizers applied to the land.

For more information about either of these topics, click here.