Environmental Justice Communities and Advocates Call on State to Take Immediate Action on Industrial Swine and Poultry Operations

RURAL EMPOWERMENT ASSOCIATION FOR COMMUNITY HELP
NC ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE NETWORK • SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER
NC CONSERVATION NETWORK • JULIUS L. CHAMBERS CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
COASTAL CAROLINA RIVERWATCH • CRYSTAL COAST WATERKEEPER
WHITE OAK-NEW RIVERKEEPER ALLIANCE • PUBLIC JUSTICE
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY • NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL

SWINE AND POULTRY ANIMAL OPERATIONS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina should take a number of immediate steps to address the historic impacts of Swine and Poultry Feeding Operations on low-income communities and communities of color in the wake of major natural disasters including Hurricane Florence. We recommend that North Carolina:

1. Conduct a transparent and objective review of all swine waste lagoons impacted by Hurricane Florence and subsequent major rain events, including those that overtopped, sustained structural damage, were inundated, and reached or exceeded freeboard limits.
2. Begin the transition of all swine and poultry waste management systems to Environmentally Superior Technology.
3. Appoint a Drinking Water Task Force to recommend ways for the state to ensure safe drinking water for all affected by floodwaters near swine and poultry waste management systems. The Task Force Should:
a. Include community representatives, public health and drinking water experts, and the Secretaries of the NC Department of Environmental Quality and the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
b. Identify long-term solutions for drinking water access and protection, improve protections to drinking water from flooding and runoff, and make provisions for community-based monitoring and notification.
4. Appoint an Animal Feeding Operations Task Force to oversee the transition of swine animal feeding operations in eastern North Carolina to Environmentally Superior Technologies (ESTs). The Task Force should:
a. Conduct an objective study of the safety and integrity of all remaining hog waste lagoons in the state.
b. Conduct an objective and transparent cataloging of the hog operations that have been closed but where waste lagoons remain.

Over the next year, North Carolina should take the following steps:

1. Deny permit renewals for any swine operations that do not have a plan for transitioning from lagoons/sprayfields to the implementation of Environmentally Superior Technologies (EST), as described by 15A N.C. Admin. Code 2T.1307.
2. Remove all animal waste management systems out of the 100-year floodplain.
3. Require that all animal waste lagoons be adequately decommissioned within 6 months of an operation closing.
4. Update the regulatory regime applicable to poultry operations in the State in order to protect communities and natural resources. Such updated measures should, at a minimum:
a) Require public disclosure of the location, size, and waste management practices for all poultry operations located in the state;
b) Require a permit for poultry operations using a dry animal waste management system; and
c) Prohibit the construction of new poultry barns and waste management systems in the 100-year floodplain.

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