TCFA Veep Pleased that CAFO Rule Making Process Has ConcludedMon, 03 Nov 2008 20:26:35 CST
Ben Weinheimer is Vice President of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association- and we visited with him here in Grapevine at the 2008 edition of their annual convention- our coverage courtesy of Hudson Livestock Supplements. Weinheimer visited with us about the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to issue the final CAFO rules this past Friday. He tells us these rules have been more than a decade in the making- and the EPA issuance of the final rule puts this process to bed- giving confined livestock feeders a definite gameplan to operate under when it comes to their environmental obligations
The first CAFO rules were established in the 1970s, and in 1998, we saw the process begin to revise those rules. In 2003- the rules were ready, but lawsuits by those unhappy with the level of regulation kept the final regs on the shelf until this past week.
“We’re pleased that EPA has put out this final rule,” said Tamara Thies, NCBA’s Chief Environmental Counsel. “The regulations are very strict and comprehensive, but they provide much-needed certainty for our cattle producers on what they must do to be in compliance.”
Thies worked extensively with EPA to ensure that the final rule would allow flexibility for cattle producers to ensure their ability to comply. “Cattle producers make their living off the land, and because of that they have a vested interest in being good environmental stewards,” Thies explains. “They’re also business people, and need the flexibility to make decisions based on current conditions, not long-range government planning.”
Under the final rule cattle producers can apply manure and wastewater to their lands based on nutrient values in up-to-date soil and manure tests, rather than a predetermined rate developed five years in advance as was originally proposed. Similarly, the final rule permits cattle producers to apply manure and waste water to their land based on an assessment of phosphorus transport. “This kind of flexibility is critical to enabling producer compliance and does a much better job of ensuring environmental protection than did the original proposal,” said Thies.
Weinheimer tells us that now that these rules are out- Oklahoma and New Mexico feedlots will start the process with Region 6 of the EPA to reapply under the final rule to get their permits all lined up with the final rules. Feedlots in Texas have already begun the process of reapplying to bring all of their facilities up to speed with these new rules.
We have our Monday conversation here in Grapevine available to be listened to here on this page- simply click on the Listen Bar below.
Ron Hays with Ben Weinheimer of the TCFA
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