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CFOs, CAFOs in the spotlight

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Aside from a new disclosure law enacted in 2009 requiring certain permit applicants to acknowledge past spills and whether those instances amount to an environmental or public health danger, the environmental industry has been focused on new regulations and legislation in recent months. Most of Indiana’s nearly 2,000 livestock farms that are currently considered confined animal feeding operations will eventually be covered by new confined feeding operations regulations that IDEM approved in November. The new rules take effect July 1, 2012, and can be found online.

The changes include the removal of a requirement that any large animal feeding operation that “proposes to discharge” pollutants into waters of the state – but doesn’t actually discharge – obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination Permit. The new regulations also include a prohibition on spreading manure on frozen or snow-covered ground at these operations, limitations on phosphorus content, and a provision that allows IDEM to require large CAFOs to monitor groundwater.

The Indiana General Assembly is also considering legislation that would provide CAFOs with a legal defense against frivolous nuisance lawsuits. Opponents worry that the bill would discourage people from seeking redress from CAFOs as a result of noxious odors, water pollution, and declining property values. House Bill 1091 was pending in the Senate at IL deadline.•

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