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Rep. Miller introduces a feedlot bill



For Immediate Release           
February 12, 1998       

Contact:   Robbin Marks, NRDC 202-289-2393
Lisa Magnino, NRDC 202-289-2405                                 
Bianca DeLille, CWN 202-333-1143
Ken Midkiff, Sierra Club MO 573-815-9250
Bill Craven, Sierra Club CA 916-557-1100
Dan Whittle, EDF NC (919) 881-2601


CLEAN WATER NETWORK PRAISES MILLER BILL TO SET 
CLEAN WATER STANDARDS FOR FACTORY LIVESTOCK OPERATIONS

    February 12, 1998 - (Washington, DC) - The Clean Water Network
(CWN), a
national coalition of more than 1,000 organizations including
environmental,
family farm and religious organizations, today praised Representative
George
Miller (D-CA) for introducing legislation that would establish national
minimum
environmental standards for all industrial-sized livestock operations. 
This
legislation would help prevent pollution and ensure that hog, poultry,
dairy,
and other large-sized animal feedlot operations are held accountable for
the
water pollution they cause.  

Many states across the nation have suffered from water pollution caused
by
livestock operations.  For example, the outbreak of pfiesteria piscicida
last
summer in the Chesapeake Bay caused open sores on fish and numerous
health
problems in humans including memory loss.  According to data gathered by
the
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), just during the summer of 1995
alone,
more than 38 million gallons of animal waste spilled from factory farm
lagoons
in North Carolina, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri, causing massive fish
kills. 
One hundred and four deaths from cryptosporidium in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, have
been linked to parasites from animal waste.

"Large feedlots have caused devastating water pollution and this bill
will go a
long way towards solving the problem," explained Robbin Marks, a senior
policy
analyst at NRDC.  "EPA has generally failed to use its authority to
regulate
factory farms.  This bill clarifies EPA's existing authority and expands
upon
it.  In many ways, this bill should be used as a yardstick against which
the EPA
plan for feedlots, now under development, should be judged."  

The legislation introduced today would require that all large-sized
animal
feedlot operations obtain individual Clean Water Act permits, that those
permits
be based on stricter technology standards, and that those permits
mandate standards for land application of waste to prevent polluted
runoff.

"California has been ravaged by water pollution from dairy factory
farms,"
explained Bill Craven, director of the California Chapter of the Sierra
Club. 
"These corporate farms have never been held accountable for the
pollution they
cause.  We need this legislation to provide states with a national
standard
below which no state should fall."

"This bill will begin to hold corporate producers to the same level of
stewardship and responsibility as the family farmer already aspires to,"
stated
Edith Galloway, a livestock and grain family farmer from Hancock County,
Ill. 
"We care about our neighbors and our land."

The bill phases out the use of open air lagoons by concentrated animal
feeding
operations within ten years and ensures that within three to five years
all
existing and new lagoons and other manure storage systems will be lined
and
sited properly to avoid risks to surface and groundwater.  Moreover, the
bill
requires that large confined animal feeding operations move towards
dryer
systems of manure storage. 

"We have to get rid of the larger-than-football-field-sized cesspools
from
factory hog farms that are polluting our rivers and streams,"  explained
Roger
Allison, a livestock farmer and executive director of the Missouri Rural
Crisis
Center, a family farm organization.  "This bill begins that process."

"The bill recognizes that the widespread use of open-air lagoons and
sprayfields
to dispose of animal waste is outdated and ineffective in protecting our
rivers,
streams and aquifers.  Had this bill been enacted six years ago, North
Carolina
would not be in the mess it's in." stated Dan Whittle, attorney for the
North
Carolina Environmental Defense Fund in Raleigh.

The bill clarifies that large-scale poultry operations must obtain Clean
Water
Act permits.   In addition, the bill stipulates that both the owners and
operators are jointly liable for any pollution violations.

"The corporate poultry operations in Kentucky have never taken
responsibility
for the water pollution they've caused in our waterways," explained Lisa
Webster, a  soybean, cattle and tobacco family farmer from Webster
County,
Kentucky.  "This bill makes it clear that the corporations have to stop
polluting."

 Miller's bill does not limit the authority of EPA and states that issue
Clean
Water Act permits to set stricter standards, including imposing
moratoriums on
new and expanding industrial-sized animal feedlots operations.  

"This piece of legislation is one key piece of the puzzle of how to
regulate
factory farms so they do not harm the environment," stated Ken Midkiff,
director
of the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club in Missouri.  "Strong state and
local
controls, and curbs on air pollution are also needed."

# # #

Members of the press:  a summary of Representative Miller's bill is
available by
contacting Lisa Magnino, NRDC, at 202/289-2405.

The Clean Water Network, established in 1992, is comprised of more than
1,000
local, state, regional and national groups in all 50 states working to
strengthen federal clean water policies so that our nation's waters will
be
fishable and swimmable.  Member groups include a variety of
organizations
representing environmentalists, commercial fishermen, recreational
anglers,
surfers, boaters, family farmers, faith communities, environmental
justice
advocates, labor unions, civic associations and recreational
enthusiasts. The
Clean Water Network's feedlot workgroup is made up of 100 organizations
in 32
states.
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