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Photo: Nigel Monckton
Factory farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations, CAFO’s, confine animals on an industrial scale and produce massive amounts of manure and other waste. They apply liquid animal waste on land, which runs off into waterways, killing fish, spreading disease, and contaminating drinking water.
More than 30 years ago, Congress identified factory farms as water pollution sources to be regulated under the Clean Water Act’s permit program. But a Bush administration regulation allowed large facilities to bypass government regulation by claiming, without verification, that they do not discharge into waterways.
The settlement, which challenged the Bush administration loophole, requires the EPA to propose a rule on greater information gathering on CAFO’s within the next 12 months.
The E.P.A. reached a settlement this week with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Waterkeeper Alliance that would be a step towards closer monitoring of concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as factory farms.
There are thousands of CAFOs, but they have “historically many have been able to avoid pollution control requirements,” said John Devine, an attorney for the National Resources Defense Council.
The settlement requires the E.P.A. to propose a rule that will require CAFOs to report specific information on the amount of manure generated from the facilities and how this waste is handled.
The massive amount of animal waste that is produced from CAFOs can leach into the groundwater and into streams and rivers.
The White House emphasized a strong bilateral relationship with Karzai Tuesday, but Wednesday’s meeting was fraught with tension over the Afghan endgame strategy.
While Washington remains focused on completly removing the Taliban from Kandahar, Afghanistan and neighboring countries are on a path that ends the country’s eight-year conflict with negotiations for a settlement with the Taliban.
The local population is also ready to negotiate a Taliban settlement, a U.S. Military survey of public opinion in the Kandahar region showed. With a margin of 19 to 1, locals favored talks with the Taliban over continued fighting.
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