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Feb. 14 2022 08:00 AM

North Carolina
The Environmental Protection Agency will be investigating the North Carolina legislature’s decision to fast track a general permitting process allowing four hog farms to generate biogas. The Southern Environmental Law Center filed a complaint that “degraded groundwater, surface water, and air quality” would disproportionately harm the mostly black and Latino residents that live in this area, violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and state environmental laws.

The $500 million biogas plan is a joint venture between Smithfield Foods Inc. and Dominion Energy Inc. Last July, the legislature passed the Farm Act of 2021, requiring the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to create an expedited permitting process that would enable existing hog farms to obtain a general permit to join the program.

Opponents worry that the general permit will treat all farms the same using similar monitoring requirements regardless of size and production style. The DEQ will hold several public meetings to get feedback from the community. The general permit is supposed to be finalized by July.

This article appeared in the February 2022 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 5.

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