State environmental department rejects federal overreach into agricultural operations

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 12:00am

North Carolina environmental regulators are reversing the previous administration’s decision to bring poultry operations under federal regulation.  The state environmental department will protect the agriculture industry from federal overreach by requiring poultry operations to be permitted by the state rather than by federal requirements.

The McCrory administration consistently fights against the federal government’s intrusion into state affairs.

“The McCrory administration will continue to protect the environment while fighting overreach from the federal government,” said Donald R. van der Vaart, secretary of the state environmental agency. “Similar to the Waters of the United States rule that infringes on property rights and the power plan that would increase energy prices, we believe that decisions about how to protect North Carolina’s environment should be made in North Carolina, not in Washington, D.C.”

State regulators are implementing a federal judge’s decision, which found that the federal EPA overstepped its authority by requiring a federal permit for rain water runoff from certain poultry and agricultural lands. North Carolina already requires state permits for water quality protection and manure management.

The court ruled that the federal EPA and special interest groups misinterpreted federal clean water regulations by calling for poultry operations to hold a federal permit. The EPA did not file an appeal, indicating that it agrees with the federal judge’s ruling.