DEQ Flips Switch, Gives in to Industry Demands
After holding the line for 12 years, the McCrory appointed leadership at NC Department of Environmental Quality gave in to Rose Acres corporate demands and industry led political pressure by allowing the company to operate under a state permit. The non-discharge permit awarded to Rose Acre on May 15th is vastly different than the pollution discharge permit that was once required.
Rose Acre Farms had been operating under a pollutant discharge permit (called an NPDES permit) as required by the Clean Water Act since it opened its doors in 2004. Beginning in 2009, Rose Acre decided to use its corporate muscle in the courts, opposing a pollution discharge permit. DEQ had been winning the costly legal battle but gave in to poultry industry pressure just months after sending Rose Acre a Notice of Violation for failing to apply in a timely manner for a pollution discharge permit.
In stark contrast, the non-discharge permit given to Rose Acre will instead greatly limit state oversight, monitoring and any public transparency as to the impact of their operation on the waters of the Tar- Pamlico River Basin. Since 2010 Sound Rivers, the Friends of Pocosin Lakes and Waterkeeper Alliance have vigorously defended the pollution discharge permit in court with DEQ. Now we are evaluating next steps in the 12-year battle to hold this industrial complex accountable for its pollution.