Following a recent federal court ruling that manure must be treated and regulated as solid waste, factory farmers can now be held liable for pollution from their facilities.
The court case involved a dairy facility in Washington found to have polluted groundwater with manure. The extent of the contamination and cleanup will be determined at an upcoming trial.
According to Reuters, “This is the first time the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which governs the disposal of solid and hazardous waste, has been applied to animal waste from a farm.
If upheld, this ruling would set a powerful precedent.
“Industrial livestock operations produce hundreds of millions of tons of manure annually. The district court ruling, if upheld, could affect any large livestock facility that produces more manure than it can responsibly manage, including poultry, beef and hog farms, the article continues.
Not surprisingly, factory farming practices are also to blame for widespread contamination of our drinking water. In fact, animal excrement and other agricultural runoff from large-scale farms have polluted nearly one-third of rivers in the U.S.
Just last year, runoff from farms like these near the Great Lakes left hundreds of thousands of Ohio residents without safe drinking water.
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