Update: Governor Cooper has signed the Farm Act into law – stay tuned for more ways to take action for your waterways.
Senate Bill 315, the “Farm Act of 2019” is the latest attack by the NC General Assembly on communities living near industrial swine operations. This bill will allow a wealthy industry to double down on outdated waste management technologies that the NC General Assembly voted to phase out years ago. Senate Bill 315 will have a significant impact on how CAFOs are regulated in NC and would cause great damage to transparency and access to records. This bill is a step backward for the communities living near hog operations. For more information, see our fact sheet here.
In addition to the egregious giveaways to the industrial swine industry, just this past week, private companies were able to add a provision into the bill that will make nutrient pollution even worse in the Neuse River.
Nutrient pollution has been a long-standing problem for the Neuse River. The existing state rules aimed at cleaning up the river have been in place since the 1990’s with the understanding that all polluters have an obligation to reduce their impact. Unfortunately, at least one municipality and private industry are opting to use their political connections to change the rules. Instead of recruiting new businesses that can operate without harming our rivers, they wish to reduce their obligation to limit nutrient pollution for the sole purpose to save money– but this will come at the expense of others.
We cannot wish away pollution in the Neuse. In fact North Carolina is mandated by federal law to clean the river up. As Matthew Starr, our Upper Neuse Riverkeeper notes this bill, “guarantees that the Neuse River, an already nutrient polluted water body, will become further degraded. This language benefits private profit margins at the expense of the public.”