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Feb. 10 2023 08:04 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last month that it will gather information and conduct a detailed study to determine whether it needs to strengthen regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The agency has not revised its rules for the nation’s largest farms since 2008. In 2021, the EPA said it had no planned changes but is now reconsidering that decision in response to a lawsuit by environmental group Food and Water Watch.

The agency will seek more data from farms and will also consider practices and technologies that were not available when the rules were last updated. Revising water pollution rules typically takes several years, three full-time employees, and $1 million per year in contractor fees, according to the EPA. The study will determine if the potential environmental benefits of changing the rule will justify the significant resources required to make the update.

This article appeared in the February 2023 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 5.

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