EPA is proposing a rule that would require Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to submit basic operational information to EPA so the Agency can more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health. The proposal is part of a settlement agreement reached with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Sierra Club. Under the proposed rule, EPA is co-proposing two regulatory options regarding which CAFOs would be required to submit information to the EPA. One option would require every CAFO to report this information to EPA, unless states with authorized NPDES programs choose to provide this information on behalf of the CAFOs in their state. The ICCAW endorses the first option, that every CAFO report to the EPA. EPA is requesting public comment on both options as well as alternative approaches to gather information. The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. The Agency plans to take final action on this proposal by July 2012. The major environmental problem associated with concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is the large volume of animal waste generated in concentrated areas. If manure and wastewater are not properly managed, pollutants can be released into the environment. States have consistently reported to EPA that agricultural activities, including CAFOs, are leading sources of pollutants such as nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), pathogens (bacteria), and organic enrichment (low dissolved oxygen) that are contributing to water quality impairment in U.S. surface waters. Adverse impacts on ecosystems and human health associated with discharges of animal wastes include fish kills, algal blooms, and fish advisories, contamination of drinking water sources, and transmission of disease-causing bacteria and parasites associated with food and waterborne diseases. www.regulations.gov: follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
• E-mail: Comments may be sent by electronic mail (e-mail) to email@example.com.
• Fax: Fax your comments to: 202-566-9744.
• Mail: Send your comments to: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code: 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20460.
• Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver your comments to: EPA Docket Center, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW, Room 3334, Washington, D.C. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.