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Regulate pointsource animal agriculture under the Clean Water Act

Animal agriculture operations in the United States, such as dairy feed lots and hog farms, are not allowed to discharge into surface water. The resulting practice of land-application of waste leads to leaching of nutrients which ultimately end up in ground and surface water (Sutton and Joern, 2001). By permitting animal operations under the regulations of the Clean Water Act, land application of concentrated waste will decrease, ultimately reducing nutrient contamination of ground and surface water. The cost of treating wastewater for discharge under CWA regulations is higher than treating wastewater for land application, which will raise the price of some agricultural products (Williams, 2001). The higher cost of doing business will drive animal production out of the United States in cases where the cost of shipping is less than the cost of compliance with regulations. However, the large quantity of existing farm infrastructure may prevent farms from relocating in the short term, effectively canceling the risk of job and tax base losses (USDA, 1997).


next up previous contents
Next: Legalize effluent trading among Up: Quality-Focused Policies Previous: Require permits for non-pointsource   Contents
Andy Wingo 2001-12-10